Songdo Planned City

After spending three days and three nights at the Best Western Garden Hotel in the Mapo district of Seoul, the GLCM crew checked out in the morning and departed to go to the next office and site visit hosted by Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Our first stop was to visit the main office located in Gangnam-gu, Seoul. We were greeted by Parsons Brinckerhoff senior planner, Randy Simes, and the president of Korea office, Chan-Joong Kim. The presentation by Mr. Simes was very insightful with an overview of Parsons Brinckerhoff’s vast involvement in the development of South Korea.

Parsons Brinckerhoff was first established in South Korea in 2000. The company was found ground up locally by Mr. Kim. Through his guidance and ambitious vision, Parsons Brinckerhoff’s has become the oldest foreign company to successfully survive in South Korea for 14 years. The company has a staff of 180 employees working at the headquarters in Korea. The president, Mr. Kim, emphasizes that the company’s key reason for success is localization. Mr. Kim explains that localization has allowed them to adapt their services to the Korean culture and the desired outcome that is preferable to the local community. The company has established itself as a leading firm with expertise for sustainable site planning and design management in Korea. Some of their significant projects include the Lotte Super Tower that GLCM visited on January 7th, the Grand Hyatt Regency in Korea, and the Kaengnam Tower in Vietnam.

Recently, Parsons Brinckerhoff has achieved various LEED certification awards in South Korea’s new and developing Smart City located in Songdo Industrial Business District (IBD). The project started in 2009 and Parsons Brinckerhoff has been involved in ensuring that the project meets LEED certification standards as well as providing outstanding construction management services. The city is essentially a sustainable community that is determined to quickly become the central business hub of Northeast Asia. The master plan of the project is roughly 100 million square foot that includes commercial office space (40 million SF), residences (35 million SF), retail shops (10 million SF), hospitality (5 million SF) and various cultural facilities (10 million SF).

After leaving the company’s main office, our next stop was to visit one of Parson Brinckerhoff’s greatest achievements, the Northeast Asia Trade Tower located inside the Smart City and is the tallest building in South Korea.  At the 65th floor of the building, the group was able to view the entire smart city in an observatory room. It was amazing to see the beautiful 100 acre Central Park as well as various spectacular architecturally designed buildings. It was instantly clear to us how vibrant the “Smart City” is and the application of green infrastructure throughout the reclaimed land.

The GLCM group was very fortunate of Parsons Brinckerhoff for providing us with such a great opportunity into the insight of the future of South Korea’s green city. It was truly an awe inspiring experience.

Blog by Yash Baheti