During my last stay in Seoul, I spent most of my time in the historic heart of the city north of the Han river. I did take a Sunday afternoon, though, to walk around the Gangnam district—the chic high rise–dominated neighborhood south of the river. (As recently as a few decades ago, this area was still rice-paddies.)
Just around the corner from Bong-eun-sa temple (which dates from the 8th century), this striking building caught my eye: the headquarters for the Hyundai Development Company. Designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, it's known as "The Tangent." In the architect's words, "the Tangent is a project that is about the relationship between the ever-changing circle of nature and the straight line of technology." (Those words could also succinctly describe the recent history of postwar Korea.)
In my mind, though, because this structure reminds me of one of my favorite artists, this is the Kandinsky building in Seoul. And across the street, beneath the Korea World Trade Center tower, is the COEX mall, Asia's largest underground shopping center. Grab a bite in the food court and get a feel for the youth pop-culture vibe; a K-pop dance competition just might be taking place on a nearby stage.
To get here: Take Subway Line 2, exit Samseong (COEX) station.