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The Jaw Dropping Convergence of Design and Technology Continue with the Floating Island in Seoul

The Jaw Dropping Convergence of Design and Technology Continue with the Floating Island in Seoul

And it continues. Koreans are really leaving their mark when it comes to the innovation of life! Being from San Francisco and having traveled to most of the major cities in the US, I am accustomed to tall sky scrapers and fine architecture. However, Asia and Korea specifically, have really taken things to another level. Combining advanced technology with good design, Koreans have really impressed many with the creation of the world’s first floating island.

The Multi-lights of Banpo Bridge

This floating island apparatus consists of 3 smaller islets that lay adjacent to the southern part of the already famous Banpo Bridge (Banpo famous night light show is compared to those of Las Vegas). Banpo Bridge is a girder bridge that connects the Seocho and Yohngsan districts and was completed in 1982.  It is on top of Jamsu Bridge, forming a “double deck” bridge. When the water levels of the river get to high, the Jamsu Bridge usually goes under and closes off. Banpo is one of the 27 bridges that cross over the Han River in the Seoul National Capital Area. (Please refer to the following link for more info and videos of the Banpo Bridge:

Banpo Bridge in seoul, korea

Arial view of TheBanpo Bridge in the midst of traffic and the water/light show

Three of a kind! The individual islands: Viva, Vista and Tera

The three islets definitely don’t lose face even with the WOWING Banpo Bridge hovering nearby. This floating island apparatus consists of 3 smaller islets that will eventually be connected with 28 weather proof chains. Unlike other man-made islands, below the surface, the Floating Island does not have concrete filled in as the foundation. Rather, it has been designed to literally float! This allows it to move with the flow of the water level and solves any potential problems with flooding. The largest and “main” island is called Viva and it’s “satellite” islands are known as Vista and Tera.

Floating Island VIVA

The Viva

The 3 story Viva measures to be 35,000 square foot and is supported by 24 giant airbags. It weighs about 2,000 tons and can support up to 6,400 tons on the island itself. It is chained to a 500 ton concrete block to keep it anchored. It is equipped with 54 square meters of solar panels that provide the facilities with electricity, that also charges up the islands for the illuminating light scenes in the evenings.

Floating Island The Vista

The Vista

The second largest and the more circular island, Vista. It measures to be about 15,000 square feet. Unfortunately no quality images have been released of the Tera, but is to be the smallest of the three coming in at about 4,000 square feet. Both Vista and Tera will also serve as a venue to host international conventions, water sports events, restaurants, cultural performances and exhibitions.

The following video is a short press release of the Island opening in Seoul this past. The city’s dignitaries were all in attendance and many were covering this event world-wide.

Here is a short video of the Vista lit up at night

The Floating Islands on the Han River definitely came with quite a price tag for the Korean Government. Having the first of its kind, this project cost the government $83.9 million dollars and is set to be completed in September of this year. It is not new news to hear about how committed the South Korean Government is to their green and construction projects seriously. Whether it’s the beauty of the Banpo Bridge or the design and green technology of the floating islands, the commitment of the current President’s administration to build toward a green future definitely comes one step closer with every project like the floating island. Just for more reference, the following is a link to the Floating Island on Korea’s official tourism site:
I do look forward to seeing what other projects roll out and I am thankful that I am able to live in a time and place where this innovation is developing and speedily growing.

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About the author by Amy Jung

I am one of the main communicators for this project and am excited about supporting Korea in disclosing and clarifying anything related to Korean technology, design, and culture. I am a former Product Specialist from Apple, born and bred in the US, and grew up around cars. I like learning about trivial things in life and relieving both my right and left brain appetites.

- Follow @amygjung Twitter