New Seoul city hall sparks controversy over design

The South Korean capital Thursday unveiled its latest landmark, a controversial $256 million city hall with an undulating glass structure that looms over its preserved colonial-era stone predecessor.

Scaffolding and fencing around the site were removed this week after three years of construction, dramatising the contrast between the 13-storey futuristic building and the 1926 structure built during Japanese rule, which it overshadows.

The development symbolises the dilemma facing Seoul, a city largely destroyed during the 1950-53 Korean War and hastily redeveloped as the country's economy boomed later in the 20th century.

Planners are now trying to preserve what little remains of the past, but several architects and passers-by were unenthused with the result in this case.

"There is little harmony between the new and old buildings," architect Baek Min-Seok told AFP.

"The old building next to a new one is going to be an eyesore, but you cannot tear down a time-honoured structure just because of aesthetic reasons. This is a dilemma for Seoul."

Baek also said the new city hall contradicts an official guideline to limit glass walls to less than half the total wall area for energy efficiency.

The new building, with 7,000 glass wall panels, will be open for use as early as September.

Its protruding front, resembling a breaking wave, rears over the old hall -- failing to blend in with the austere structure or with an old royal palace nearby.

Yoon Seo-Hyun, 24, said the two are too close to each other. "They could have built it with a more traditional appearance. It's just not blending in the landscape," the office worker said.

But Kim Da-Eun, a 24-year-old education consultant, said she likes the new building. "It matches well with the skyline of Seoul, and I think it matches the global image of Seoul quite well," she said.

Lee Gil-Sung, a senior city official in charge of infrastructure, defended the new structure and said it had energy-efficient features.

"As to design, there is no fixed answer. Different people have different opinions," he told AFP.

"Think of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. When it came into existence in 1889, many people poured scorn on it. But now it's an icon of France and one of the most-visited monuments in the world."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • First China air force drills in 'far offshore' Pacific
    First China air force drills in 'far offshore' Pacific

    China's air force has carried out its first ever military drill over the western Pacific Ocean, state media said, highlighting Beijing's growing military reach. Several aircraft from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Monday flew over the ocean via the Bashi Channel, which runs between Taiwan and the Philippines, the official Xinhua news agency said. "This is the first time that the PLA Air Force conducted such drills in an airspace far offshore from Chinese coastlines," Xinhua cited …

  • Shorter hours for rail lines tomorrow
    Shorter hours for rail lines tomorrow

    The Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) will have shorter hours tomorrow for the replacement of defective railroad tracks during the Holy Week. …

  • Noy increases allowances for cops, soldiers
    Noy increases allowances for cops, soldiers

    President Aquino has signed a joint congressional resolution raising the daily subsistence allowance for both members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP). Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Aquino signed last March 27 the merged Joint Resolution 2 of the Senate and Joint Resolution 26 of the House of Representatives. Speaking to reporters, Lacierda yesterday said the daily allowances of police officers and soldiers were raised from P90 …

  • Oil firms raise gas prices today
    Oil firms raise gas prices today

    This year’s Holy Week break will be accompanied by an increase in local pump prices after oil companies announced yesterday a P1.10 per liter hike for gasoline and P0.60 per liter for diesel effective today. “Phoenix Petroleum Philippines will increase the prices of gasoline by P1.10 per liter and diesel by P0.60 per liter effective 6 a.m. of March 31, 2015 to reflect the movements in the prices of refined petroleum products in the international market,” said Phoenix Petroleum, an independent …

  • DFA denies dropping Phl claim to Sabah
    DFA denies dropping Phl claim to Sabah

    The Philippines has never offered to drop its Sabah claim in exchange for Malaysia’s support for Manila’s arbitration case against China over the West Philippine Sea issue, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday. “In the context of our friendly bilateral relations, our two countries have been for years exchanging ways on how to address the issue of the extended continental shelf (ECS) in the South China Sea,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said in explaining the DFA’s …

  • Pagcor remits record high P5 B to national treasury
    Pagcor remits record high P5 B to national treasury

    The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has remitted P5 billion in cash dividends to the National Treasury, fully settling all its arrears incurred in the last several years. Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Cristino Naguiat Jr. said with this year’s remittance, the state-owned gaming firm has fully settled all remaining arrears in cash dividends that were incurred by the previous administration since 2005. Pagcor’s cash dividends to the National Treasury under its …

  • Maysak moves closer to Phl
    Maysak moves closer to Phl

    The typhoon with international name Maysak slightly accelerated as it moved closer to the Philippines yesterday, threatening to dump rains over eastern Luzon this weekend, the state weather bureau said. Rene Paciente, senior weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said Maysak was spotted at 2,175 kilometers east of Mindanao as of 1 p.m. yesterday. Paciente said based on their latest forecast, Maysak is likely to affect …

  • Phl gets P2-B climate projects from Germany
    Phl gets P2-B climate projects from Germany

    The Philippines is getting 41 million euros or around P2 billion from the International Climate Initiative (ICI) of Germany that will fund 10 bilateral projects to address the impact of climate change. Climate Change Commission (CCC) vice chairman Lucille Sering yesterday met with Norbert Gorissen – head of the International Climate Finance of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety – to discuss the projects, some of which will be …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options