While in Brussels his projects are described as utopian, Vincent Callebaut is building his bio-cities of the future in Asia. He is undertaking a new project in Seoul, in South Korea. A vegetable, energy-autonomous ferry station.
His name resonates through the sector like a lightning flash of genius. After creating organic, post-carbon and anti-smog buildings in Taiwan and Cairo, the architect from La Louvière, Vincent Callebaut, has just won an international competition launched by the South-Korean government. His mission: To develop the banks of the river Han, in Seoul, which will house the city’s future ferry terminal. A challenge Callebaut has answered this time by conceiving “a floating vessel with resilient biophilic architecture”, putting the emphasis on vegetation and renewable energies.
Baptised “Manta ray”, his project will become a cultural hub housing no less than four different functions. It will include a ferry terminal, a multi-level market-gardening park, a footbridge and a cultural complex installed in a vast hollow structure. Cycle paths, restaurants, bars, cultural complexes, the site will have several functions. But as usual, the bio-architect has left nothing to chance…
A biomimetic development
The floating ferry terminal (9,100m²) will be capable of following the rise in the river’s waters in the seasonal floods, which can reach 5 metres high. This terminal, the figurehead of the project as a whole, will manage citizens’ river transport and will house cultural spaces exhibiting the river’s history. As for the bank’s landscape development, this will include wide terraces, footpaths, cycle paths and an amphitheatre at the water’s edge, taking advantage of the natural slope of the land. The project aims to “enlarge the natural irrigation of the site” by transforming the Yeouido park “into an organic willow wood” and by creating “a filtering strip of vegetation in the form of marshes” on the banks of the Han river, the architect explains.
Defender of an architecture drawing on biotechnology, the circular economy and renewable energies, the Walloon architect will apply in Seoul the approach he championed in Paris Smart City 2050. Since, as well as being eco-renewable, the “Manta ray” will also obviously be energy-autonomous. Marine turbines with oscillating blades will be integrated along the hull of the great float encircling the marina. By means of their back-and-forth movement, they will transform kinetic energy from the river into electrical energy. The infrastructure will also be self-powered by wind trees installed on the roofs and photovoltaic cells encapsulated in the 4,500 m2 of glazed façade. For the structure, local species of wood will be used. The interior materials will be recycled materials.