123 floors. 555 meters. These are the main characteristics of the Lotte World Tower. It opens to the public today on April 3rd after nearly three decades of development. The Lotte World Tower is the fifth tallest building in the world and the highest building in the OECD. The project is fulfilling the dream of Lotte’s founder Shin Kyuk-Ho. This article is going to explain the magnitude of the project, it’s features and issues.
Megaproject ‘The Second Lotte World’
Describing the Second Lotte World (제2롯데월드) project, that consists of multiple buildings and various facilities as a large-scale project is an understatement. It’s a megaproject with unprecedented dimensions for Korea. The idea for the project was developed in 1989. Construction begun in 2009 and the skyscraper was completed on 22 December 2016. The total cost for the 123 floor-high building is expected to be around 3.8 trillion KRW (3.4 billion USD). The building is constructed by Lotte Engineering & Construction. See here various designs for the Lotte World Tower.
The whole project surrounding the Second Lotte World includes a shopping mall, cinema, aquarium, concert hall, department store, duty free shop and many more facilities. It’s especially crazy in my opinion if you consider that right across the street Lotte has been already operating a department store, hotel and the world’s biggest indoor adventure park. The new buildings provide a completely new experience.
Facilities in the Lotte World Tower
The skyscraper features a hotel and residential hotel, office space, gallery, sky bars and observatory. Here’s a floor-by-floor overview:
|117 – 123||Seoul Sky Observatory|
|108 – 114||VIP Office Space “Premier 7”|
|76 – 101||Lotte Hotel Signiel|
|42 – 71||Signiel Residences|
|14 – 38||Office Space|
|5 – 12||Health and Fitness Center, Gallery and other facilities|
It can be argued that such a megaproject doesn’t really fit in a city. Analyzing it from the transport perspective, the already existing department store and adventure park caused huge traffic jams on the weekend and it got only worse with the opening of the World Mall. The Lotte World Mall received approval only after the development of a traffic demand management plan. The tower as a place with many offices is going to add more traffic on weekdays.
Then there’s the issue of a worsening walking environment: A large building doesn’t provide the best walking experience. Of course, if the building is open, then it’s nice to pass through the building and do some window shopping. But if the building is closed, then it becomes a major obstacle and a black hole for place quality.
Issues during construction
Lotte experiences several drawbacks during the construction and accidents haunted the project. The following overview just shows major incidents:
- Flight routes for a military airport had to be changed.
- During the construction, there was a fire during the construction where luckily nobody was hurt but it took the firefighters a considerable amount of time to get the fire under control.
- Seockchon Lake lost water during construction without any obvious reason.
- Lotte has lost their duty free shop license for the Lotte World Tower but only temporary.
- Two famous urban explorer gave Lotte World Tower unwanted PR by gaining access to the construction site and climbing up to the top.
- Two people died and over five people got hurt in the construction process of the skyscraper.
These are just a few incidents and it shows another argument against large-scale projects.
Observatory Sky Seoul
The Lotte World Tower is the highest building in Korea and it’s definitely a remarkable landmark. Besides the various shopping options, the top of the tower has the so-called Sky Seoul which is an observatory and an art gallery.
On the 117th to 123rd floor visitors can enjoy view above Seoul. The opening hours are from 09:30am to 11pm and a ticket costs 27,000 KRW for adults, 24,000 KRW for children (from 3 to 13 years). The ticket can be reserved online on the Lotte World Tower website or through a smartphone app.