• Overall north
  • T1-t2 night
  • T1 drop-off
  • Sunken podium
  • T1-t2 up
  • T2 atrium
  • Downcut
  • T2 dusk
  • T1 close up
  • T1-t2 aerial


Dancing Dragons

Download Project PDF

Dancing Dragons is a pair of landmark supertall mixed-use towers design for Yongsan International Business District in Seoul, Korea. The buildings, which include residential, “officetel” and retail elements, consist of slender, sharply angled mini-towers cantilevered around a central core. The design aesthetic is highly contemporary yet informed by aspects of traditional Korean culture.

The mini-towers feature a dramatic series of diagonal massing cuts that create living spaces that float beyond the structure. This recalls the eaves of traditional Korean pagodas—a design theme echoed both in the geometry of the building skin and the jutting canopies at the towers’ base. The theme is extended in the building skin, which suggests the scales of fish and Korean mythical creatures such as dragons, which seem to dance around the core—hence the project’s name. (Yongsan, the name of the overall development, means “Dragon Hill” in Korean.)

Dancing Dragons’ scale-like skin is also a performative element. Gaps between its overlapping panels feature operable 600-mm vents through which air can circulate, making the skin “breathable” like that of certain animals.

Towers 1 and 2—about 450 meters and 390 meters tall, respectively—share an architectural language and, therefore, a close family resemblance, but are not identical. In the taller structure, the 88-level Tower 1, the massing cuts at the top and bottom of the mini-towers are V-shaped. In the 77-level Tower 2, the cuts move diagonally in a single unbroken line; they are also arranged in a radial pattern around the core that is perceptible as viewers move around the tower.

In both buildings, the mini-tower cuts are clad in glass at the top and bottom, making for dramatic skylights above the units at the highest levels and a transparent floor beneath the units at the lowest levels. This offers the opportunity for special high-value penthouse duplex units with spectacular 360-degree views of downtown Seoul and the adjacent Han River, along with an abundance of natural light.

The design of the 23,000-square-meter site—part of the larger Yongsan master plan —reinforces the angular geometry of the building massing and skin.  Landscape features include sloped berms that echo that geometry. The site also includes a retail podium with a crystalline sculptural form and sunken garden that provide access to a large below-grade retail complex.

sep 12  |  Civil Engineering
Ancient Architecture Inspires Contemporary Tower Complex
A Two tower complex that is being designed as part of a development in Seoul, South Korea, was inspired by the traditional building methods  represented in the nation’s ancient temples, yet the project will be anything but antiquated. Indeed, the towers will be decidedly contemporary, featuring many innovative elements... MORE

17 may 12  | Architecture Source
Breathing Life into Korean Architecture Feat
The concept of biomimicry is the architectural process whereby a building or structure takes its form from the imitation of organic systems and processes. It is sustainability on a whole different level, as architects who design using biomimetics seek to simply copy not only the organic form being mimicked, but also its organic function... MORE

11 may 12  | World Architecture News
Year of the Dragon: AS+GG unveils design for supertall mixed use towers for Seoul, South Korea
The Chicago-based design firm, Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, unveiled today its design for Dancing Dragons, a pair of supertall mixed-used towers for the new Yongsan International Business District in Seoul, South Korea. The buildings, which include a mix of residential, ‘officetel', and retail uses, consist of slender, sharply angled mini-towers cantilevered around a central core... MORE

11 may 12  | inhabitat
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Unveil Dancing Dragons Towers with Scaly, Breathable Skin
When architects Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill design a new building, people tend to pay attention... MORE

9 may 12 | AS+GG Press Release
AS+GG Designs Dancing Dragons, a Two-Tower Complex for Seoul’s Yongsan International Business District
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture is pleased to announce its design for Dancing Dragons, a pair of landmark supertall mixed-use towers for the new Yongsan International Business District in Seoul, South Korea... MORE

Yongsan International Business District

MEP Engineering
PositivEnergy Practice

Structural Engineering
Werner Sobek

Office for Visual Interaction (OVI)


The Chicago Athenaeum, Green Good Design Award, Green Architecture, Dancing Dragons


The Chicago Athenaeum, International Architecture Award, Dancing Dragons


The Chicago Athenaeum, American Architecture Award, Wave Tower (Dancing Dragons Scheme 1)