Incheon Tower: The Architectural Marvel

When it comes to architectural marvels, South Korea does not lag behind the United States or Dubai. A prime example of this is the under construction Incheon Tower. Located in Incheon, the Incheon Tower stands 2001 feet high and has a 150 floors. Designed to represent Songdo city, the Incheon Tower encompasses a hotel, residential space, and offices. The design of Incheon Tower has been developed by Portman Holdings. Run by Atlanta based architect John Portman, Portman holdings has built a number of buildings in Singapore, China, and Shanghai.

Compared to other buildings in South Korea, the Incheon Tower is significantly larger. Currently, the tallest building in South Korea stands 265 meters high and has about 72 floors. This is significantly less than what Incheon Tower would have once it’s complete. The tower is being developed at an estimated cost of $15 billion and once complete, it’ll stand as fifth-tallest building in the world. The groundbreaking of the Incheon Tower was performed in 2008. However, the construction of the building started in 2013. The tower is expected to be ready by 2019.

Of the 151 floors, the majority will be reserved for condominium and residential units as well as for office space. The tower will also feature a hotel and observation decks. According to the floor plan of the Incheon Tower, the 1st to 6th floor will be dedicated to retail, the 7th to 62nd floor will used as office space, 63rd to 96th as residences, 97 to 114th as Boutique hotel, 115-148 as hotel, 149 to 150 as restaurant and 151 as an observatory deck.

In order to ensure greater resistance to wind and seismic activity, the two halves of the tower will be tied together with the help of a pedestrian bridges trio. Critical components of the architect’s aesthetic vision include the sharp edges of the tower. However, to develop a shape that is consistent with the design vision and structurally efficient at the same time, the structural team of the Incheon Tower worked closely with a wind tunnel consultant and the architect. The result of this was an open slots series on four corners.

In order to create an alternative wind path, the four level high openings split into two interconnected trapezoidal sections at the 44th floor. This enhances the visual appeal of the structure and improves aerodynamic performance. A ring of buildings and a large park are set to accompany the Incheon Tower. Also, next to the building will be a lagoon which will certainly enhance the appeal of the Incheon Tower and its surrounding area.

Apart from being the fifth-tallest building in the world, once complete, the Incheon Tower will be the 2nd tallest building in Asia after Burj Dubai. An interesting feature of the Incheon Tower will be an elevator that connects the lobby on the 1st floor to the restaurant on the 151st. However, this is just one of the many interesting features that the Incheon Tower will boast. After all, the Incheon Tower is an architectural marvel.

White House Architecture

White HouseLocated in the heart of our capital lays the most recognized building in the US, the iconic White House. The official resident and workplace of the President of the U.S. it is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. It was designed by Irish architect James Hoban. He submitted a plan for the presidential mansion in 1792 and was commissioned to build the White House.

Construction began in 1793 and was completed in 1801. The White House is made from white-painted Aquia Creek sandstone and built in Neoclassical style. The main residence and foundations of the house were built mostly by both enslaved and free African-American laborers and employed Europeans. The construction took about 8 years and cost around $232,000, equal to about $3.2 million today. Because of material and labor shortages, alterations to the original plans took effect. Two floors were built instead of the planned three, and cheaper brick was used as a lining in the stone façades. When construction was finished, the porous sandstone walls were whitewashed using a mix of lime, rice, glue, casein, and lead. This gave the house its well-known color.

The house was initially called the “President’s House” and the “President’s Palace.” It wasn’t until 1811 that it was called The White House by the public as early records suggest. It is speculated the White House name might have been derived from Martha Washington’s home, White House Plantation in Virginia.

The first president to take residency in the White House was John Adams, on November 1st, 1800. In 1902, Theodore Roosevelt had the overcrowded White House expanded, adding a West Wing and the Oval Office. During Kennedy’s presidency, Jacqueline Kennedy directed a historic redecoration of the House. Paintings, antiques, and other artifacts, as well a restorations were financed and donated to the House by wealthy philanthropists.  

Today, the White House Complex includes a central Executive Residence, flanked by the East and West wing. The White House consists of 4 floors, 55,000 square feet of floor space, 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms. There is also a tennis court, swimming pool, bowling alley, movie theater, jogging track, and putting green. The White House remains a beloved and popular building visited by 30,000 US residents and tourists alike each year.

Renaissance Architecture

Basilica at the Vatican

The architecture style of Renaissance Italy was a very conscious design, as particular architects sought to revive Classical Roman architecture. Instead of the style slowly growing and evolving out of the previous Gothic style, architects of the time actually made pilgrimages to Rome to study the ancient buildings and ruins. They included such elements as columns, pilasters, pediments, and arches into Renaissances buildings, as well as an obsession with art, as many of these buildings were adorned with such classic art as those by Michelangelo.

Sisteen Chapel
Sistine Chapel









The Basilica and Sistine Chapel in Rome are prime examples of Renaissance architecture, with one of his most famous works – The Creation of  Adam,  painted on the roof of the Chapel by Michelangelo.

The Renaissance style of architecture was developed first in Florence with Filippo Brunelleschi. However, while the Classical Roman architecture was influential in the Renaissance style, the distinguishing features had to be adopted to fit the changed forms and purposes of buildings. For instance, the churches that were among the earliest buildings in this era never would have been constructed by the Romans. Furthermore, wealthy merchants of the 15th century required larger city dwellings and cities had no more use for public bath houses that the Romans built.

Brunelleschi’s first major commission was the brick dome that covered Florence’s cathedral. While the dome was stylistically Gothic, the structure was clearly influenced by the great dome of Ancient Rome. He also designed the churches of San Lorenzo and Santo Spirito, both in Florence, which demostrate more clearly the classical revival period.

Leon Battista Alberti was another important architect of the time. His design of the Church of Sant’Andrea in Mantua included a façade reminiscent of a roman triumphal arch. However his best known buildings are in Florence: the Palazzo Rucellai and Santa Maria Novella.

From Italy, the Renaissance style was exported to France and Spain, and later Holland, England, Germany and Russia. This architectural style only began to appear outside of Italy around 1500 and later. It is interesting to note that chronology, Renaissance architecture followed Gothic architectural design and then was succeeded by the Baroque style.

Early 20th Century Construction

"Lunch atop a skyscraper" Photo at RCA Building
“Lunch atop a skyscraper – Fearful Irish men pose on a girder high above the RCA building (Now the GE building). Also called 30 Rock.

One would wonder how so many buildings could be constructed during the Great Depression of 1929. The answer is that the money was already allocated years earlier for these projects. Subsequently, massive construction commenced between 1929 and 1932 to build such art deco iconic structures as the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Center.

The famous photograph “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” is indicative of this construction period. The building where these workers were on is the GE Building at Rockefeller Center, then called the RCA building. It is also where NBC Studios are located, Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and where the TV show 30 Rock got its name.

Many of the men who volunteered to take these construction jobs, especially the ones depicted in this photo are mostly of Irish descent, but there is talk that some might have been from Sweden as well. The most popular steel workers of the time however were the Mohawk Indians who were given the name “Sky Walkers” and worked on many New York City buildings.

During this period, millions of people were out of work and were prepared to take any job in order to support their families. With that said, the men photographed in “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper”, as well as thousands of others who took on these projects were no doubt fearless of heights. Since there were no laws governing the safety of hard hats in those days, these men took their lives in their own hands, but were successful in building some of the tallest skyscrapers in the world.

Lloyd’s building, London

Lloyd's buildingThis futuristic building looks like it belongs in a sci-fi film rather than on 1 Lime Street in London. The award-winning Lloyd’s building, known also as the Inside-Out building, is an iconic architectural landmark and one of the most recognizable buildings on the London skyline.

The original Lloyd’s building was built in 1928. Due to expansion of the market, a new building was built across the street at 51 Lime Street in 1958. By the 70s, Lloyd’s was in need of another extension and architect Richard Rogers was hired to develop the site. The original Lloyd’s was demolished to make way for the new Lloyd’s building.

Lloyd's Building Interior
Lloyd’s Building Interior

Today’s Lloyd’s building was built between 1978 and 1986. The design was an innovative one since its staircases, water pipes, electrical power conduits, and elevators were constructed on the outside, quite similar to Paris’s Centre Pompidou building, both influenced by the work of Archigram.

Rather than completely removing all traces of history from Lloyd’s, Rogers kept a part of the original façade as an homage. The historic architecture of the past paired with the postmodern high-tech style of the new Lloyd’s building seems to coexist in a way that perfectly depicts the modernization of London.

Lloyd’s building consists of three main towers and three service towers that surround the main rectangular space. The ground floor’s core contains The Underwriting Room (the Room) which houses the Lutine Bell within the Rostrum. The Room is overlooked by galleries, which form a 197 foot high atrium lit by natural light through a massive barrel-vaulted glass roof. The highest floors are glassed in and can only be reached by the exterior elevators. The 11th floor contains the Committee Room, a lavish 18th-century dining room designed for the 2nd Earl of Shelburne in 1763. It was moved piece by piece from the previous Lloyd’s. The Lloyd building is a spectacular site not to be missed by anyone visiting London.


I.M. Pei: Acclaimed Architect Worldwide

I. M. Pei
Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center

Although 97-year-old Chinese-born architect Ieoh Ming Pei (I.M. Pei) retired in 1990, he still consults, primarily from his sons’ architectural firm. He came to the United States at the age of 17 to study architecture and received degrees from MIT and Harvard Graduate School of Design before becoming a naturalized citizen of the US in 1954.

Pei frequently relies on abstract forms and materials such as stone, concrete, glass, and steel. He has said that he is more concerned with the function of his designs than the architectural theory, and called architecture a “pragmatic art” when he accepted the Pritzker Architecture Award in 1983.

“To become art it must be built on a foundation of necessity,” he said.

He has also won the Gold Medal Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) was awarded the Henry C. Turner Prize by the National Building Museum, the Arnold Brunner Award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the first Praemium Imperiale for Architecture from the Japan Art Association, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and the Royal Gold Medal from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Pei is a fellow of the AIA, and a corporate member of the RIBA.

Perhaps Pei’s most famous design is the glass and steel pyramid that sits as the entrance to the Musée du Louvre in Paris. The design was considered controversial because it was very futuristic compared to the classical architecture of the museum.

This was not the first time a glass pyramid was part of a building’s design. The initial proposal for the John F. Kennedy Library included this architectural element, but it was eventually scrapped—as were several other ideas. In the end the building combined a large square glass-enclosed atrium with a triangular tower and a circular walkway.

Pei used a similar design to the Louvre pyramid when he worked on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Ohio. The entrance includes an angled glass and steel wall that looks very much like the Louvre pyramid from certain angles. The building is a mix of off-center features and angled walls, which represents youthful energy and rebelling, according to Pei.

“In designing this building, it was my intention to echo the energy of rock and roll,” Pei said.