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Thornton Tomasetti-Engineered Tower Breaks Ground in South Korea

September 22, 2008
Incheon 151 Tower

Incheon 151 Tower
John Portman & Associates

Poised to become the second tallest building in the world and featuring structural design by Thornton Tomasetti, Incheon 151 Tower-a 151-story mixed-use tower in Incheon, South Korea-has broken ground. Land at the development site is currently being reclaimed and the pile foundation will be put to tender shortly.

Incheon 151 Tower will feature 30 floors of commercial offices, a 300-key hotel, residential apartments and urban condominiums, observation levels at 118 and 119, and, at the top of the tower, sky restaurants. The tower has a five-story retail and parking podium with two basement levels. At nearly 2,000 feet, it is expected to stand second in height only to Burj Dubai in the Middle East. John C. Portman, Jr., design visionary for the project, explains, “The tower’s place as a gateway influenced its form in a gesture that greets the world with open arms, expressing peace, unity and openness, and identifying Incheon and Korea to the world.”

“This landmark tower will symbolize Incheon and Korea. I hope this project delivers a better standard of living and more jobs for the city and the country as a whole,” commented South Korean President Lee Myung-bak at the groundbreaking event.

The building will be the centerpiece of a 1,500-acre, new planned community called Songdo Landmark City, which will be the gateway city for visitors arriving to Songdo across the new Incheon Grand Bridge, currently under construction.

Structural features of Incheon 151 Tower include three four-story sky bridges spanning the 57 to 60, 84 to 87 and 116 to 119 floors. Challenges presented by the project include wind load and foundation design. The primary lateral load-resisting system is a concrete core wall at the center of the tower with mega columns integrated with outrigger bridges. The 151-story tower will be supported by 2.5-meter diameter RCD piles driven about 50 meters deep.

Designed by international architects John Portman & Associates, Incheon 151 Tower is being developed by a consortium led by Portman Holdings in partnership with Samsung C&T Corporation, Hyundai E&C and SYM-Associates. Completion is scheduled for 2014.

About Thornton Tomasetti (
Thornton Tomasetti provides engineering services to clients worldwide on buildings of all sizes and complexity. From the tallest buildings and the longest spans, to innovative building systems and materials, the firm is committed to creating the best solutions through its technical ingenuity, pursuit of excellence, and responsiveness to client needs. Our work is in three practice areas: Building Structures, Building Skin and Building Performance. Founded in 1956 as Lev Zetlin & Associates, today Thornton Tomasetti is a 650-person organization of engineers and architects collaborating from offices across the United States and in Shanghai, Hong Kong, London, Moscow, and the Middle East.

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