Known locally as the “gold tooth,” this iconic, gold-glassed skyscraper beside the Han River opened in time for the 1988 Olympics, providing a piece of the background for the torch-lighting ceremony that opened the games. Designed by architectural mega-firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, it became a public attraction from the first day of its reign as the tallest building outside North America (having one-upped Tokyo’s Sunshine 60), offering not just office space, dining, and retail, but various attractions for the whole family such as an aquarium and Korea’s first IMAX theater. Having announced the country’s arrival into the developed world, it continues to inspire: the singer Forty’s song “63 Building,” for example, came out just last year.
This comes as the first in a series of monthly urbanism-themed segments Kurt and I will record for Koreascape. Stay tuned for further explorations of Seoul’s architecture, infrastructure, and built spaces of all kinds.