Sign In

Dongdaemun Design Plaza

Development Type: Redevelopment/Regeneration Project

Type Of Developer: Public Private Partnership

Start Year: 2009

Address: 281, Eulji-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea


Contributor: audex


Location Description
Located next to the Dongdaemun History and Culture Park Station. Passing Lines 2, 4, and 5 Dongdaemun Station is nearby. Lines 1 and 4 Sindang Station is nearby Line 2 Line 6 There are relatively many markets from ddp to Dongdaemun direction, and there are many residential spaces on the other side, with Hanyang Middle School, Seongdong Global Management High School, and Gwanghui Elementary School in Seoul. Large markets, Dongdaemun shopping mall, Dongpyeonhwa market, Cheongpyeonghwa market, etc., mainly retail; Doota Mall and Hyundai City Outlet Dongdaemun branch are available for shopping. There is a Heunginjimun.

Case Report


Dongdaemun Design Plaza is an exhibition hall and shopping mall built on the site of Dongdaemun Stadium. The architect is Zaha Hadid and DDP is the world's largest three-dimensional unstructured building. Dongdaemun Design Plaza was established with Dongdaemun History and Culture Park after demolishing Dongdaemun Stadium according to the Design Seoul Plan established by Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon. The initial goal was to plan a space where historical culture and design were harmonized, but it drew much criticism. First of all, the DDP's unconventional design does not match the surrounding landscape and does not seem to be related to the historical context. In addition, the problem is that communication was not smooth despite the opposition of citizens when starting the project. However, it has established itself as a landmark of Seoul and is constantly visited by citizens and foreign tourists.

Development Info.

Development Scale: Block

Total Development Cost: 484 billion won

Total Land Area: 62108.7 m2

Total Development Area: building area 25104.08㎡

Area Type: Other

Start Date: 2009/04/28

Opening Date: 2014/03/21

Planning Approval: Dongdaemun Design Plaza, 2006

Lead Developer: Zaha Hadid

Consultants: Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, Mayor Park Won-soon, Samwoo General Architectural Office, DDP Operation Preparation Committee, DDP Planning and Coordination Team, Expert Creative Process, Expert Advisory Council, etc.


Economic Context

After the Korean War, the population and industry were concentrated in Gangbuk and since the 1970s, the city has pushed for Gangnam development by suppressing Gangbuk development. As Gangbuk became economically and socially backward, the regional gap between Gangnam and Gangbuk widened. Dongdaemun Market grew a lot in the 1990s as an emerging retail market, with daily transactions exceeding 10 billion won in 1999. However, after the 1997 East Asian economic crisis, the local economy worsened due to the rising won value, TV home shopping, Internet shopping, and the increase in new stores in Dongdaemun. Discussions on the use of Dongdaemun Stadium for regional economic development began in the mid-1990s.

Social Context

Fashion and clothing industry clusters have been established in Dongdaemun Stadium and surrounding areas since the 1960s. It is the world's largest clothing and fashion commercial district. All processes of design, production, and distribution of clothing are carried out. Design-related professionals and related industrial cooperation systems are developed by themselves.

Environmental Context

The main point of transportation where four major roads and subway lines (1, 2, 4 and 5) and 29 city buses meet in downtown Seoul. With the final announcement of the "Master Plan for Urban Recreation Project", cultural belts connecting cultural hubs such as Jangchung-dong, Dongdaemun University, and Daehak-ro are formed, increasing their potential as cultural spaces linked to nearby areas.

Historical Context

During the Joseon Dynasty period, Hanyang Fortress was built to defend the city, but it began to be destroyed when tanks were placed. Through Japanese colonial era, the walls were severely damaged, unauthorized buildings were scattered through liberation and the Korean War, and the destruction of the castle was rapidly carried out. Originally, the Korean history training was held during the Joseon Dynasty at this site, but the walls and buildings were removed to build Gyeongseong Stadium in 1925. After liberation, it was renamed Seoul Stadium and used as a square where national events were held. With the establishment of Jamsil Stadium in 1984, its name was changed to Dongdaemun Stadium and its function was reduced. As the market was formed around Baeogae in the late Joseon Dynasty, the commercial area developed. It developed into a modern market with the creation of Gwangjang Market in 1905. In the 1960s, the sewing factory was established as a peace market, becoming the center of the clothing industry and a wholesale store in the whole country. With the establishment of Migliore, a comprehensive fashion shopping mall in 1998, emerging retail businesses began to form.

The Plan

Pre-planning Efforts

Studies by Nasar, Jack L. and Banai R. : Nasar proposed an image improvement project linked to tourist attractions in the region to improve the underdeveloped urban image of Knoxville and Chattanuga, Tennessee, USA. Banai focused on Kevin Lynch's way of analyzing the city's image and analyzed the relative importance of each element. Kim Hyun-sung used cognitive map to analyze the image of downtown Seoul, while Lim Seung-bin analyzed theoretical considerations and methodologies on the possibilities and limitations of environmental psychological morphology research. Lee Hoon also analyzed and organized the image recognition process of Cheongju City using a cognitive map, and Kim Jong-ho summarized the range of influence and cognitive factors of landmarks in urban space through statistical analysis.

Vision Statement

The Dongdaemun Design Plaza construction project was promoted as a landmark that can grow the depressed urban area into a design and creative industry and build a network through international exchanges as a multi-person creative industry.

Goals and Objectives

Develop creative future design, create a strategic base for design business, establish a global incoming and outcoming system of design knowledge, establish a platform for design experts, create a center for cultural and artistic activities, create an international landmark, create a creative environment and place identity, and develop programs.

Issues and Problems

Korean architects participated in the contest, but it was foreign architect who were elected. Zaha Hadid's design is too radical, and there is less understanding and affection for the historical characteristics of Hanyang and Dongdaemun Stadium than Koreans. It seems to be aimed at the Bilbao effect, which saves the declining city as a symbolic cultural facility, but some say that it is difficult to expect the Bilbao effect because Seoul is already an active city.

Benchmark Projects


Public Engagement Strategy

Design and Construction: Cultural Facilities Project Group Operational Preparation and Promotion: Design Seoul General Headquarters Post-business operation: Seoul Design Foundation Citizen Idea Contest International Geographical Name Invitation Design Competition (국제지명초청현상설계경기) CA(Construction Administration) adoption

Financing Strategy

Transition from facility-building-oriented to operational-oriented for DDP financial independence. In addition to the infrastructure businesses such as leasing, renting, and viewing, we are creating businesses such as brand business, place marketing, and advertising.

Existing Community and Residents

Conflicts with the sports community. It opposed the demolition of Dongdaemun Stadium and proposed preserving the historical and cultural values of Dongdaemun Stadium and utilizing it as a stadium, sports museum, and park through remodeling. Emphasizing the importance of the DDP project, the Seoul Metropolitan Government actively gathered opinions to seek solutions such as building alternative stadiums, preserving some facilities, and constructing memorial hall. Conflicts with nearby merchants. Pungmul Market merchants in Dongdaemun Stadium, street vendors around the stadium, merchants in Dongdaemun Stadium, baseball stadiums and underground shopping malls were relocated, seeking solutions for those who protested against livelihood instability. Opening a new Pungmul Market, supporting modernization of facilities, supporting start-up funds for industries, public relations marketing, building alternative shopping malls and etc. Conflict with Cultural Heritage community. Many civic groups, including the Cultural Solidarity, and the Cultural Heritage Administration launched a campaign against demolition because the Dongdaemun Stadium itself has historical and cultural values. The Seoul Metropolitan Government agreed to restore the remains of the Joseon Dynasty, leave some symbolic parts, and secure exhibition space containing models and three-dimensional images of Dongdaemun Stadium, but conflicts arose over whether to fully excavate and restore the traces. Hanyangseong Fortress Fortress and Yigansumun e treated for emergency restoration, and the site will be preserved, and the site will be relocated and restored by creating a historical park.

Phasing Strategy

Design and Construction: Cultural Facilities Project Group. Responsible for the design and construction of DDP, and for the design, construction, and supervision of each sector, such as the International Design Competition for Designing Geographical Names(국제지명초청현상설계경기), civil engineering, architecture, and equipment. Operational Preparation and Promotion: Design Seoul General Headquarters. In charge of all administrative affairs. The design planning officer and public relations officer of the Design Seoul General Headquarters are in charge of preparing and promoting DDP operations. Post-Project Operation: Seoul Design Foundation. To secure expertise, efficiency, autonomy, and financial independence by establishing a professional operator. Responsible for planning and implementing various programs, managing DDP facilities, and operating affairs to support the design industry and promote design culture in Seoul.

The Master Plan

Introduction of 3D state-of-the-art design techniques BIM. Initial excavation process, architectural structure, architectural interior finish, Mechanical Electrical Plumbing (MEP), and BIM application throughout the entire process. Mega-Truss Method. Mega-Truss and Space Frame are applied to keep columns invisible to curves and interior. External panel construction. 45133 external panels were used, but none of them looked the same. Exposed concrete construction. Unstructured exposed concrete is used inside and outside the building to create a unique atmosphere. Internal finishing work for 3D amorphous curved surface implementation. Interior finishing works also have different shapes on all sides. Constructed with natural gypsum board, Gassfiber Reinforced Gypsum Board, cotton absorbing material, artificial marble, etc.

Land Uses and Programs

Dondaemun History & Culture Park(DDP), Dongdaemun History Museum, Yigansumun Exhibition Hall, Design Shop, Yigansumun, Design Pathway, Oullim Square, Design Museum, Creative Lounge, Pathway café, Academy Hall, Grass Hill, Hino’s Recipe, Design Experience Zone, Art Hall 1, 2, Design Exhibition Hall, Relic Area, Café&Resturant, International Conference Hall, Information Center, Kakao Friends Store, Parking Lot

Timeline or Milestones

Late 2006 Public contest for ideas, elected. 2008 With many relics the construction of the site was suspended and the relocation of cultural assets was restored 2009.04.28 Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) Groundbreaking Ceremony and opening of Public Relations Hall 2009.10.27 Dongdaemun History and Culture Park opened 2011.10. Mayor Park Won-soon is trying to change the direction of how to use DDP. 2013.11.30 DDP Completed 201703.21 DDP Open

Current Status

The DDP, which was created with public funds, has been negatively evaluated for its pursuit of profits over publicity by turning the public facilities area that it originally planned into a paid exhibition space. One of the landmarks in Seoul. The iconic architecture of Dongdaemun. One of the 52 must-visit attractions in the New York Times. Citizens, tourists visit steadily. It is also mentioned steadily in the media. Continuously contributing to the sales of Dongdaemun commercial district. However, excessive costs, the use of designs and commercial buildings that ignore historical aspects continue to be criticized.

Lessons Learned

What is the most important take away from this case?

It's a public project, but it costs a fortune. It's a public facility, but it's looking for benefits. The design that is not in line with Seoul's much history.

Why is this case relevant today and for whom?

It is a place where many citizens and tourists gather, although it slows down a little these days due to the Covid-19 situation. In addition, still the dominant power saving the market of Dongdaemun and president Moon Jae-in frequently uses the DDP at event sites. It is a building that is still very influential.

Which strategy was proved to be successful?

Various cultural events such as exhibitions, fashion shows, and forums are held, and it is successful to attract many people, thereby revitalizing the design industry and surviving the commercial sector. Attracting foreign tourists by establishing itself as a tourist destination Improving the quality of public architecture by introducing the design method of invitation in public works. Impacts the establishment of a standard business system for public order buildings in how the entire process is managed through Construction Administration (CA), Construction Management and etc.

In your opinion, what could have improved this project?

As it is Dongdaemun History and Culture Park right next to the DDP, it would be better if there was a historical part and a part where we could share the context of Dongdaemun Design Plaza. Although DDP activates commercial districts, it is still slightly different from DDP and surrounding commercial districts. It would be nice to have a program that can be connected and activated together.

Any other comments?

Obviously worth the investment. However, it would be better if we move in a direction that suits the purpose of establishing the DDP rather than focusing on the commercial part by coordinating the critical parts. It is a good idea to consider whether the problems that arise in the process of negotiating conflicts with citizens or organizations in the financial and cultural aspects of the project can be solved by good results. I think we need to look at the problems that have arisen in the course of this project, as we cannot accidentally close our eyes again just because the results are good.


OFFLINE Resources and References

Shin Jiyoon. (2017). A Study on the Financial Management of Public Complex Cultural Space. Journal of the Korean Society of Architecture - Planning, 33(3), 3-9. Yang Bo-ram, Ryu Joong-seok (2014). An Analysis on the Perception of Urban Space Places by Urban Space Change - Focusing on Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP). Journal of the Korean Landscape Society, 6(2), 39-53. Jigyungae (2014). A Study on Design Management for Sustainable Complex Culture Space: Focusing on Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP).


Leave a Reply

Contributor audex


AUDEX is an acknowledgement that we need to start building on our own knowledge and experiences that applies to Asian cities and, perhaps, we can steer the global urbanization in the right direction. We believe in a collective intelligence. Powered by the internet and the network of professionals and experts in Asia, we propose to start by making sharing your experience and knowledge easier.