South Korea has a new high-rise. Titled as ‘The Cloud’, the twin towers built by the architecture firm MVRDV from the Netherleands were designed to look as though they are penetrating through the clouds. The ‘cloud’ here was made of regions in the building that have gardens at heights above 25 storeys. Critics claim that the concept has a very strong resemblance to the original ‘Twin Towers’ as they burnt under the onslaught of terrorism. But the designers and architects claim that they never noticed the resemblance in the designing stages.
In times of yore, people moved out of home, around the world to fulfill needs and wants. Modern times have seen the world come into homes of people to fulfill their needs and wants. This, ‘at-the-click-of-a-button’ philosophy, has inspired the construction of these skyscrapers that intend to bring the beauty and harmony of nature into residential quarters.
Where we are now?
Expected to be completed by 2015, the construction consists of twin high rises, 260 meters (with 54 storeys) and 300 meters (with 60 storeys) tall respectively. A ‘pixelated’ cloud of additional amenities and programs connects the two buildings at the 27th floor. Occupying a total surface area of 128,000 square meters in the Yongsan Business district, the twin skyscrapers have a pixelated cloud that is 10 storeys in size. This cloud acts like a boundary between the luxury developments and the project.
Almost 14,357 square meters of amenities are present in the cloud. A wellness center, a large atrium connecting the towers called the sky lounge, restaurants, cafes and pools are bordered by outdoor spaces like gardens, decks, platforms, and pools that are privately owned. There are special express elevators which ensure quick access to the ‘cloud’ of amenities. The idea is to allow those with means to be able to connect and harmonize with nature at their very doorsteps.
The floor plan is made in a way that there are four apartments in each corner of a square. Every residence has ample lighting and ventilation. An Officetel, which is an office-hotel in Korean typology, has been constituted with elegant lay-outs having panoramic views. The topmost floors are large penthouses with their own private roof gardens.
What makes it stand out?
The concept intends to provide everything at the doorstep. Gated communities, where there are amenities and nature spaces available for all within the community are fairly common in the world. In those cases, the gardens and pools are public. The intent here is to provide the same sort of community living with all amenities along with the luxury of privacy as well. Patios, gardens and pools are are available as public spaces as well as private spaces. In this aspect, the high-rise is quite unique and those who can afford apartments here will definitely find the concept very beautiful.
Where do we go from here?
Whether one resides in the townhouses below or the penthouses above, this homely tower offers plazas, gardens, pools, swimming areas and lawns to all the residents. Bringing nature into homes in a manner that is easy to maintain is a wonderful take-away for all buildings being constructed.
With its rich amenities, the towers promise to cater to the physical, mental and intellectual needs of not only the young generation but also for the older generation. With gyms and outdoor lawns, there is no shortage of exercising space. The same natural spaces can double up as walking and relaxing zones for the elderly.
In short, concepts such as the Cloud Towers will bring the highest luxuries into one’s home but not at the cost of secluding nature!
It is not that this concept is entirely new. Verticla gardens, towers and ideas of pixelated appearances have already been adapted in structures at many cities of the world. Here are three structures that are similar in their concept and seem to follow a general trend.
1. Taiwan Tower: Super Slim Greenery Clad Twin Skycrapers
Architects Steven Ma, Xinyu Wan, San Liu and Emre Icdem have put in their best to come up with twin skyscrapers that are models of green architecture and development. The towers house museums that showcase Taiwan’s past present and future and a cultural center too. Right at the top is the sky park! The 350 meters tall towers have overhanging plants and creepers all over the facade. These are not the only green things on the buildings though. Both towers have been packed with wind turbines, water recycling plants, rain-water harvesting systems and solar panels. Luxurious apartments, an aviary, restaurants, vertical farms and a skywalk are other features here.
2. Pixelated Mesh Wrapped Garden Spruces Up an Urban Home in Japan
All the large cities of the world are facing a space crunch. In Osaka, this problem makes it difficult for one to have any experience of nature. Koseki Architects have come up with an elegant solution to this problem. Enclosing the free space outside the apartment with a wire mesh, they hung tiles all along the mesh giving the appearance of a pixellated art. These lend scope to beautiful light interplay in the garden that has been cultivated in the enclosed space. The apartment windows open out to this garden giving the residents a refreshingly personal touch with nature. Creepers move up the mesh and in a few years, an entire sanctuary gets created right next to the apartment.
3. Golden Dream Bay: Moshe Safdie’s Pixelated Sky Garden Apartments
Architect Moshe Safdie has been known for the use of his famous ‘pixel’ element in architectural designs. Using the same concept, he has designed a massive residential complex in Qinhuangdao, China. Sky gardens, rooftop pools and walkways dot every space of the building. A beach-front has been created on the building and all the amenities and facilities have been neatly organised for community use. This project comes very close in concept to the Cloud Towers and is expected to be completed by 2014.