In pursuit of “Han River Renaissance”, the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s master plan to revitalize select old districts of the city, the government organized a national competition to design a series of man-made floating islands by a southern bank of Han River.
H’s winning submission of “Soul Flora” for the three inter-connected islands depicts the lifecycle of a flower – seed, bud, and blossom.
The “Seed” contains a natural environment with a grass beach, marina, club house and floating pods of flora that illuminate the night with the appearance of flickering candle lights.
The “Bud” is the Urban Entertainment Center offering IT cafes, 3D theaters, interactive games and exhibition space.
The “Blossom” will offer visitors restaurants, performance and entertainment venues and cultural exhibit space.
The “Bud” and “Blossom” have overlapping curtain walls that blur the interior and exterior spaces and blend the Han River into the building’s interior.
The roof of the club house in “Seed” contains arrays of photovoltaic cells to help provide power to the island.
Civic plaza and promenade by day, and high-tech stage and backdrop by night, Soul Flora will be the first Han River Renaissance project to be built, achieving the city government’s vision successfully.
The 20,400 square meter complex will offer three cultural centers, featuring performances, water sports and aquatic events.
The islands can accommodate 6,200 people and are set to make the Han River, which 59 million people visited last year, an even more popular tourist spot.
While artificial islands have been constructed before, most famously in Dubai, they have generally been formed by pouring sand on the seabed to create artificial land.
Seoul’s islands take a different approach and actually float on the surface of the river using an enormous buoy secured in place by 28 mooring chains, a design which ensures it can withstand changing river levels and bad weather.
The three story building which holds all facilities is covered with 54 square meters of solar panels, which produced 6 kilowatts of energy each day, providing the facilities below with electricity, and also illuminating the facades at night.