Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a spectacular city with a magnificent skyline. It offers many attractions for tourists, along with some of the best architecture in Seoul and innovative buildings worth seeing. The buildings embrace the future with sleek lines, interesting facades, and showcase architecture highlights.
The ten buildings featured here are among the most remarkable buildings in Seoul that make the skyline of the vibrant city today.
Dongdaemun Design Plaza
The list on best architecture in Seoul will be incomplete without Dongdaemun Design Plaza. It has certainly put Korea on the world architecture map. The Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) is the new fashion hub of Asia and a major urban development landmark in Seoul. This must-see extravagant modern building is made using aluminum, concrete, steel, and stone. It has a museum, library, educational facility, and exhibition hall, forming a continuous landscape with its surroundings.
There are four levels, including three underground, for fashion lovers and visitors to explore. It is a must-see in the city for architecture hunters and fashion lovers. It is home for many art galleries and exhibitions, and it also hosts the bi-annual Seoul Fashion Week. Inside the DDP, you can also grab a bite from the restaurant options.
Seosomun Shrine History Museum
A perfect example of the harmony of art and architecture is Seosomun Shrine History Museum in Seoul. It is in a building with an impressive design and innovative use of space that makes the art on display many times more meaningful. The museum, located under a few floors in the Seosomun Historical Park, opened its doors in 2019 only, with its beautiful structure and interesting exhibitions.
This striking museum, new on the scene in Seoul, is thought-provoking and it is a sacred place for Korean Catholics. The most impressive thing about this museum is that every room is very different and optimized for its use. The high ceiling and brilliant use of materials make them both, spacious and intimate. Hall after hall leads to interesting spaces till the dramatically lit permanent exhibition hall before the exit. This museum delivers quite an experience where everything is underground.
The iconic Golden Skyscraper, officially called 63 SQUARE (also Hanwha 63 City or 63 City), is on Yeouido island, overlooking the Han River, Seoul. This landmark of the skyline of Seoul was built for the 1988 Summer Olympics, which took place in Seoul. It was one of the tallest buildings in the world at that time and is still the tallest gold-clad building in the world.
The name of the 250-meters tall 63 Building comes from its 63 floors – 60 above ground and three below ground. It is home to Seoul’s first aquarium, Imax, a wax museum and a shopping mall, and an art gallery. The main attraction here is the outstanding views from the observation deck as the building towers above every other skyscraper. It provide s an unobstructed view of the city that is simply beautiful.
Lotte World Tower
The Lotte World Tower – a sleek, 555 m supertall, 123 floor, South Korean masterpiece – is the iconic tallest building in Korea and is one of the ten tallest skyscrapers in the world. The building looks a bit like a rocket set to take off into space. From inside as well as the outside of the building are rather stunning.
The Lotte World Tower boasts a gorgeous luxury 7-star hotel, luxury apartments, business space, an observation deck, and a rooftop cafe. The tower also houses various galleries, the Lotte Museum of Art, cafés, as well as a skywalk and Seoul Sky Observatory.
Seoul City Hall
An eco-friendly and stunning building, from every angle, is Seoul City Hall. The City Hall building is in the heart of downtown Seoul, within walking distance to most tourist sites. The old city hall building, now Seoul Metropolitan Library, and Seoul Plaza are almost 100-year-old buildings, in front of the current, modern Seoul City Hall building. Seoul City Hall is a governmental building for the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
The current city hall building has a unique and contemporary architecture. It is one of the most striking buildings that is climate-responsive. The orientation of the building is such that it can maximize the diffused incoming sunlight into the lobby while limiting the direct sunlight. The interior is just as stunning with a giant green wall or living wall which holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest vertical garden in the world.
Leeum Samsung Museum of Art Complex
The three-building complex of Leeum Samsung Museum of Art in the Hannam district of Seoul is a showcase not only for the museum it houses but also for the buildings. Altogether the three buildings in the complex are stunning, but each building is unique. The center of attraction and the main highlight is the spiral staircase.
Read more: Explore Art Galleries and Museums of Seoul
The unique design of the harmonious cultural complex, with strongly characteristic buildings, is internationally recognized. It is a place for a great day out with two museums covering traditional forms of art such as paintings, calligraphy, ceramics, and modern & contemporary art and an education center. There is always something interesting to find, a lot to do, see, and eat in the complex.
GT Tower East (Seocho Garak Tower East)
The multiple functions skyscraper, GT Tower East, is a spectacular tower located in Seoul. The design of this tower is awe-inspiring. The stunning GT Tower East tower, completed in 2011, is a visual treat. The 48 meters height façade with undulating structural waves create a kind-of billowing illusion.
The sustainable design of the GT Tower East comes from the glass panels. The solar panels offer insulation and for provide power with natural light and ventilation.
While talking about Seoul’s best architecture, its ancient main palace certainly meets the criteria. The biggest of the five grand palaces in the city was the main royal palace of the Joseon dynasty and is a major tourist attraction. The palace has six gates with a massive open area as the main entrance. The palace is in front of a serene mountain backdrop.
There are two pavilions in the palace. One is a magnificent hexagonal structure, built on the Hyangwonji Pond, called Hyangwonjeong Pavilion. The other is Gyeonghoeru Pavilion on a pond to the west of the living quarters of the Palace and was built as a venue for feasts for foreign envoys and for the king and his court officials. Now the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum are located here.
Kyobo Tower is a landmark building that possesses creativity and artistry. The vast 117 m high brick edifice of Kyobo Tower with 25 floors above ground and eight floors underground, is a combination of public and private spaces. It is a humanitarian building with best architecture in Seoul that provides values in lives. It has eco-friendly indoors, an environmental center providing high-quality hotel-like office space and office-like building operations.
The Kyobo Life Insurance Company owns the Kyobo Tower. This unique landmark building is also one of the tallest structures in South Korea.
Boutique Monaco is a unique 27 story skyscraper, is a remarkable example of best architecture in Seoul. The complex structure of the building gained much international fame and admiration. The working title of this building was “Missing Matrix”. From the rectangular building, sections of the corners were removed, creating hubs for people to meet and greet. These cubic spaces allow more natural light to enter the building and provide a fantastic view of Seoul.
There are luxury retail shops, commercial, community, and cultural spaces occupying the lower levels, and residences and offices are on higher floors. The rooftop has a garden, private to the residents only, and protruding spiral staircases are there within the missing matrices.