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Architecture and Design in Seoul

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From ancient palaces to the futuristic new city hall, Seoul is a marvel of architecture and design. Evidence of this modern way of thinking is everywhere. Just take a stroll in downtown Seoul to discover it for yourself.
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161 Sajik-ro, Jongno 1(il).2(i).3(sam).4(sa), Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

This “Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven” was once the heart of Korea. It was the power center of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1897), and was originally built in 1395—some new digs for a new dynasty. Like the Forbidden City in ...

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110 Sejong-daero, Myeong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Seoul’s City Hall is a swooping mass of glass and steel tucked snugly into the heart of the city at Seoul Plaza. This modern architectural marvel stands out starkly behind the small stone building of the Seoul Metropolitan Library—the building...
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511 Yeongdong-daero, Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
The COEX Complex in Gangnam is more than just a mall, convention center, and exhibition hall. It’s a few city blocks filled with cool buildings that will thrill those who have a penchant for unique architectural design. Perhaps the most iconic of...
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종로51 종로타워 17층, 공평동 Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
One of the most distinctive buildings in central Seoul is the 33-story Jongno Tower, a triangular glass and steel tower topped with an oval floating above seven stories of emptiness. Across the street is the traditionally reconstructed...
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513 Yeongdong-daero, Samseong 1(il)-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
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...
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Euljiro 7(chil)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea
This sleek, silver structure looks as if an alien spaceship had landed in the middle Seoul. It all makes sense, however, when you realize it’s the work of the late architect Zaha Hadid. Completed in 2014, the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (known...