The cloud-breaching Lotte World Tower in Seoul has been recognized as the best new skyscraper in the world, beating out Zaha Hadid Architects’ Generali Tower in Milan and 150 North Riverside Plaza in Chicago.
The tapered 555-metre, 123-storey glass and steel behemoth, which sits near the banks of Central Seoul’s Han River, won the annual Emporis Skyscraper Award based based on what the real estate data provider said was the Kohn Pedersen Fox creation’s “soft and natural dynamic” within Seoul’s urban setting.
“The design combines modern elements with classical forms from Korea’s art and cultural history, making Lotte World Tower a particularly harmonious skyscraper,” the Emporis jury said.
The award by Emporis is based on each building’s design and functionality, and the nominated buildings must be at least 100 meters in height.
Hitting the Top at 600 Metres Per Minute
Designed by the New York-based architectural firm and opened in 2017, the Lotte Tower is the tallest building in South Korea and ranks fifth in the world. The Emporis jury noted that the tower houses the highest glass-bottomed observation deck in the world — at 498 metres — and also the fastest elevator in the world, capable of speeds hitting 600 metres per minute.
Taking up the tower’s 503,000 square metres (5.5 million square feet) of space are a hotel, retail operations, corporate offices and so-called officetels — studio apartments used mostly by people who also work in the building.
Also finishing in the top 10 for the Emporis award were two buildings in China: CapitaLand’s 257-metre, twin-tower Raffles City in Hangzhou, China; and the 598-metre, 116-storey Ping An International Finance Centre in Shenzhen, which also sprung from a Kohn Pedersen Fox design.
Milan and Chicago Reach for the Stars
Finishing as runner-up for the award was the 177-metre Generali Tower, while the 229-metre 150 North Riverside in Chicago came in third. The Emporis jury praised the “extravagant form” of the Generali Tower, which has become known in Italy as “Lo Sorto,” or “The Twisted One.” Its energy-saving capabilities also won plaudits.
The Chicago River-hugging 150 North Riverside was noted for its complex engineering work, as it stands on a footprint that for years had been deemed impossible to build on because of its small, narrow size.
Last year’s winner of the Emporis Skyscraper Award was the 142-metre VIA 57 West in New York city, a residential building designed by Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group.