South Korea has a thriving economy with abundant innovation and a strong technology sector, but just a few decades ago it was a low-income agricultural society. The rapid growth of the tech and financial sectors created a high demand for residential and commercial spaces, and major cities in South Korea now have an impressive skyline.
South Korea is in a unique position to deploy advanced building technologies since the construction and tech industries are both strong. Multinational corporations are willing to invest large sums of capital in artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, which gives rise to innovative concepts.
Which are the Tallest Buildings in South Korea?
Completed in 2017, the 555m Lotte World Tower in Seoul is South Korea’s tallest skyscraper, and it is also the 5th tallest globally. The Northeast Asia Trade Tower in Incheon is the 2nd tallest at 305m, and the Haeundae Doosan We have the Zenith Tower A in Busan is in 3rd place with 300m. In general, the tallest buildings in South Korea are concentrated in Seoul and Busan.
The Hyundai Global Business Center is scheduled for 2022, and at 569m it will be even taller than the Lotte World Tower. Another major development already under construction is Haeundae LCT The Sharp, composed of three towers with heights of 412m, 339m, and 333m.
Green Construction Outlook in South Korea
The South Korea building sector is very interested in green construction and sustainability, and the International Business District (IBD) in Songdo is an example of this. The IBD is an ambitious 40-billion-dollar project, which focuses on minimizing the need for cars. The district is scheduled for completion in 2020, with a total area of 100 million square feet, and 40% of its area is composed of green spaces.
Having a mixed layout of residential and commercial buildings, the IBD favors walking, bicycles and public transportation. Office buildings, retail stores, healthcare services, schools, and entertainment are all within walking distance, making cars unnecessary.
The IBD is also characterized by a high density of LEED-certified buildings, and there are over 100 in total. In fact, there are plans to get a LEED Neighborhood Development (ND) certification for the whole district. The LEED-ND certification is very attractive for real estate developers since all new constructions in a certified district automatically get 16 points towards their individual LEED rating. Of course, these create a high demand for advanced engineering services such as energy modeling, consulting and building commissioning.
Future Outlook: Artificial Intelligence and Smart Buildings
South Korea has abundant capital for AI development; as both the government and the private sector recognize the competitive advantage, it can bring. The potential applications of AI cover all business sectors, and this includes the construction industry. With its large-scale infrastructure projects and its innovative tech sector, South Korea has excellent conditions to develop smart building technologies.
AI has the potential to enhance green construction, conserving energy and water more effectively. Advanced metering infrastructure can provide actionable insights to improve water and energy efficiency, and connected devices can adjust their consumption to reduce the burden on utility companies. The Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) is currently deploying advanced metering infrastructure throughout the country, and full coverage is planned by 2020. To achieve this, KEPCO is installing over 22 million intelligent meters, with a total cost of over $1.5 billion.
South Korea is characterized by its excellent connectivity throughout the country, which favors the Internet of Things (IoT). For instance, South Korea had already achieved 100% coverage with 4G LTE connectivity by 2012. With adequate infrastructure in place, IoT projects become very attractive for both the government and the private sector.
Michael Tobias PE is a visionary in the construction industry. His passion resonates as the Founding Principal of New York Engineers, an Inc 5000 fastest growing company. New York Engineers is the most innovative construction engineering firm focusing on Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) engineering designs in Chicago and New York. Michael has overseen the design of over 1000 construction projects in all market sectors, including LEED certified and Passive House certified projects. He leads a global team of 50 top performers.