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Seoul Twin Eye, Persistent Doubts Despite Changed Appearance

etc. Kim Bokyoung Mar 21, 2024

SPACE MARCH 2024 (No. 676) 




Rendering images of Seoul Twin Eye ©Flying Architecture / Image courtesy of UNStudio 


In Dec. 2023, the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) announced the selection of a proposal by a consortium consisting of Seoul Housing & Communities Corp., The Ritz, Heerim Architects & Planners, UNStudio, and Arup for the ‘Seoul Ferris Wheel Private Investment Project’. The consortium proposed a Ferris wheel with a diameter of 180m, featuring two spokeless rings intersecting each other. UNStudio stated that the ‘Twin Wheel’ design was inspired by the honcheonsigye, symbolising Korea’s ambition and progress. The double ring structure’s stability was ensured by Arup, taking into consideration earthquakes and wind resistance. The Seoul Twin Eye (tentative name), to be located in the Pyeonghwa (Peace) Park within the World Cup Park in Sangam-dong, will have 64 capsules, accommodating a total of 1,400 passengers. A 40m-high building beneath the Ferris wheel will house exhibition spaces, a performance hall, commercial spaces, and food and beverage outlets.


The recently unveiled Seoul Twin Eye is the same project as Seoul Ring Zero, which was previously embroiled in controversy over allegations of plagiarising Millennium Gate (2000). SPACE No. 673 (Dec. 2023) pointed out copyright infringement and avoidance of responsibility regarding Seoul Ring Zero, the possibility of public funds being injected into a private investment project according to the competition guidelines, lack of justification for the project, and opacity of the process. Woo Daeseung (principal, Woo-projects Architects), the original designer, filed a lawsuit against SMG for copyright infringement last Nov. By selecting renowned overseas architectural firms as joint project entities and presenting a modified Twin Wheel design, SMG seems to be attempting to escape from ongoing copyright disputes. However, Woo Daeseung clarified in an interview with SPACE that ‘the lawsuit will proceed regardless of this proposal because it concerns copyright infringement by the public sector that has already occurred.’


The scale of the private investment project for the Ferris wheel’s construction has more than doubled over 10 months. The project cost, initially announced at about 400 billion KRW in Mar. 2023, was revised to about 580 billion KRW during the private investment project review in Sep., and then to about 900 billion KRW in the Dec. proposal. This amount is approximately four times the budget for the Seoul Metropolitan Dongdaemun Library, the largest complex library in Korea, and about nine times the cost of the Seoripul Open Storage Museum project, which was conducted through an international design competition. In Mar. SMG announced that public funds could be additionally injected without specifying the exact amount. With the increase in project costs, the amount of public funds to be injected is also expected to increase, making it difficult to justify the private investment project type as a means to avoid wasting taxes. Moreover, private investment projects are intended to encourage private investment in expanding public infrastructures like urban infrastructure, public education facilities, and mixed cultural facilities for the public good. Therefore, it is necessary to scrutinise whether Seoul Twin Eye truly serves as public infrastructure, why there is insistence on investing in profit-generating commercial and cultural facilities, who benefits from such investments, and whether a large-scale commercial facility and Ferris wheel are truly needed instead of a park for Seoul citizens. Is this project aimed not at public welfare but at building personal political achievements or generating economic benefits? For the sake of transparency and qualitative growth in public architecture projects, it is imperative to clarify doubts surrounding this project, including copyright disputes. 

  • Mar 25, 2024
    서울링을 검색했다가 네이버뉴스 최상단에 자리잡고 있는 이 글, 그리고 언론사의 이름 또한 너무나 독특했기에 도저히 클릭하지 않을수 없었다. 이런 잡지인지 언론인지 존재조차 몰랐던 것을 우연찮게 들어와 읽어봤는데... 너무 시간낭비가 크다. 왜냐면 뭐가 문제인지 본문을 여러번 읽어봤지만 잘 알수 없기 때문이다. 나의 독해력이 망가져서 일 수도 있을 것이다. 뭔가 욕은 질펀하게 하고 싶은데 때릴만한 구석은 없어서 너저분하게 지분거리는 느낌? 원이 하나에서 2개로 늘어났기에 사업비가 2배 가량 늘어난듯 보이는데 그게 잘못이란 말인지? 트윈으로 설계 된 것이 잘못이란 말인지? 아니면 트윈아이를 운영하여 관광객 을 유치하고 수익을 올리는 것이 잘못이란 말인지...? 원이 2개면 세계최초에 탈수 있는 사람도 단순계산하면 2배 늘어나니 수익성도 2배 늘어나는 것 아닌가? 뭐가 문제인거지? 모르겠다! 글이 너저분하고 요지가 없다. 한국같은 나라에 감히 이런 멋진 랜드마크는 존재해서 안된다고 말하고 싶은건 아니지않나? 한국이 잘 되는 것을 배 아파 할 만한 나라의 국민이 쓸만한 내용 아닌가 싶다. 일개도서관과 초대형랜드마크 구조물을 단순비교하여 4배 비싸다고 지적하는건 그저 욕하고 싶다는 속내 뿐이지않나? 나에겐 그렇게 보여진다. 필자는 글 쓰는 법을 근본적으로 다시 배워야 할 듯 싶다. 소위 누군가의 오더를 받아 쓰더라도 중도자인 척 욕할 부분에 제대로 욕지꺼리 뱉는 기술이 따로 있는데 그런 기술은 필요에 따라 익혀야 하지 않을까? 만약 본인 의지로 쓴 것이 아니라 누군가에 의해 쓰여진 것이라면 맥락없는 글이 이해가 된다. 진실은 본인만이 알겠지만....