Dongdaemun Design Plaza: A Unique Urban Development Project in Downtown Seoul
If you have walked by the Dongdaemun shopping area recently, you will have noticed a gleaming new structure of aluminum panels and LED lights. Some people say this new structure looks like a spaceship while others say it looks like a weirdly warped jellybean. But, no one can deny that this new structure is anything short of impressive and inspiring! This new structure (and its encompassing grounds), called the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, was designed by famous British Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid. The Dongdaemun Design Plaza is called DDP for short, and it has an alternate meaning: Dream, Design, Play. It recently opened to the public in March of this year.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza is the world’s largest atypical, three-dimensional structure. It has four stories above ground and four stories below ground, and covers over 35,000 square meters of space. The DDP consists of three buildings that are all connected. These buildings are used as exhibition halls, convention centers, museums, and design centers. There is a wide selection of restaurants and cafes on the ground floor of the DDP. Entrance to the plaza and most of the buildings is free. You will have to purchase ticket for the special exhibits and museums. There are free tours available (please check at the information desk to ask about scheduled times).
Even if you don’t have a desire to look at any exhibits, the DDP is still a great area for a stroll. Come during the day and walk up to the roof of the DDP; there you’ll see the beautifully manicured lawns and shrubbery (the majority of the DDP roof is covered in organic matter) and have a great view of the surrounding neighborhood. Come at night, and you’ll see thousands of LED lights illuminate the DDP, so that it looks like a galaxy full of stars. The DDP is more than just an interesting looking structure: it’s a park, a plaza, an oasis in downtown Seoul and one of Korea’s new architectural landmarks.
Closest subway station: Dongdaemun History and Culture Park (Lines 2, 4, and 5)