Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Seoul unveils $451 million 'spaceship' landmark

By Frances Cha, CNN
updated 12:05 AM EDT, Fri March 21, 2014
Known for her futuristic, spaceship-like work, "starchitect" Zaha Hadid is behind the design of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul's newest landmark. Known for her futuristic, spaceship-like work, "starchitect" Zaha Hadid is behind the design of the Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul's newest landmark.
HIDE CAPTION
Greetings, earthlings
Night attraction
Mammoth undertaking
Space and design
Seoul Fashion Week
Exhibition halls
Future events
Variety of concerts, conventions, shows
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Zaha Hadid designed new $451 million Seoul landmark
  • Dongdaemun Design Plaza will be open 24 hours in trendy shopping district
  • Seoul Fashion Week is the DDP's first major event
  • In honor of grand opening, admission to all DDP exhibitions are free in March

(CNN) -- In yet another display of the city's commitment to 24-hour culture, Seoul is unveiling its biggest nighttime attraction yet in the neon-studded, wildly trendy shopping district of Dongdaemun.

Designed by Iraqi-British Pritzker Prize winner Zaha Hadid, and completed at a cost of $451 million, the new Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) opens to the public March 21.

Commissioned by the Seoul metropolitan government, the plaza features futuristic, spaceship-like curves characteristic of Hadid's previous work -- she's also the woman behind the radical design of the national stadium set for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

DDP will host concerts, conventions and other major events throughout the year.

But the first order of business for Seoul's newest landmark and multipurpose cultural center is to kick off 2014 F/W Seoul Fashion Week.

Running through March 26, Seoul Fashion Week will feature 81 fashion shows by South Korean designers, as well as Blueprint, a trade show from Singapore's Fashion Week.

MORE: Introducing Seoul's new $230 million art museum

District makeover

The new building and its adjacent park replace an outdated stadium that had long been an eyesore in an increasingly trendy neighborhood.

With most malls in the area open until 5 a.m. (some are open 24 hours), Dongdaemun ("East Gate") is usually flooded with shoppers, especially at night.

The new plaza will be open 24 hours.

Architecture and exhibitions

Construction on the 85,000-square-meter structure began in 2007 and was completed in 2013.

Exhibition spaces are spread over four floors and three underground levels.

The building also houses a museum, a design lab and an art hall.

National treasures and paintings, along with a design exhibition of Zaha Hadid's works, will be shown in eight different exhibitions on site.

In honor of the grand opening, admission to all exhibitions except the Gansong Arts Collection Exhibition will be free until the end of March.

Seoul Fashion Week operates separately from the eight exhibitions.

As part of Seoul's push to showcase its new icon, City Tour buses and airport buses now directly service the DDP.

Beginning April 1, the admission fee to see all exhibitions will be ₩8,000 ($7).

Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Euljiro 7-ga Jung-gu, Seoul; open 24 hours

MORE: Insider Guide: Best of Seoul

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:07 PM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Where to pay homage to the cutest local celebrities you'll ever stalk.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
For air travelers who like to gripe about being cramped in economy, here comes another warning that they've never had it so good.
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Cream cakes from the Ruszwurm bakery in Budapest, Hungary
Proving they're what's really important, the world's best pastry shops have survived survived sieges, revolutions and World War II.
updated 11:50 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
Lois Pryce ignored naysayers and traveled 3,000 miles via motorcycle to discover the real Iran.
updated 11:20 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Built at a cost of $442.2 million, Universal Studios Japan hopes its new Potter attraction will bring in $55 billion over 10 years.
updated 10:40 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
A scene in Marrakech
The gateway to Morocco's Atlas Mountains is becoming a photographer's paradise -- but capturing it on camera isn't easy.
updated 5:36 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Cathay Pacific was pronounced the world's best airliner of the year at the industry's leading awards ceremony in Farnborough on Tuesday.
updated 4:44 PM EDT, Tue July 15, 2014
Britain has stolen a march in the space race with plans for the world's first spaceport outside the U.S.
updated 10:53 AM EDT, Tue July 15, 2014
In the hunt for the world's best amusement park, the people have spoken -- and it seems the people like mixing with creatures who eat a lot of fish.
updated 2:11 AM EDT, Tue July 15, 2014
An Hellenic Seaplanes aircraft
Seaplane network set to open up far-flung destinations to affordable jet-setting tours.
updated 4:52 PM EDT, Mon July 14, 2014
A man who took a dangerous selfie during the running of the bulls in Pamplona, with the half-ton beasts right behind him, is still on the run -- but this time from the police.
updated 10:07 PM EDT, Mon July 14, 2014
Its cramped rooms and retro lobby are dated, but its charm and devotion to customers are worth preserving.
updated 1:53 AM EDT, Mon July 14, 2014
A young girl sits on a bench decorated with an image of Paddington Bear.
As part of a scheme to encourage reading, 50 benches designed in the style of popular novels or kids' stories have been scattered around London.
updated 9:01 PM EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
To all the locals who have been hoarding the following beaches, please forgive us.
updated 9:10 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Jason Hullinger, a computer security architect in Los Angeles, went to Joshua Tree National Park in December to catch the Geminid meteor shower.
CNN iReporters from across the globe share their incredible images of the skies above us.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT