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Libeskind wins bid for Seoul contract

American architect Daniel Libeskind, the master planner for the World Trade Center site in New York City, has won a design competition to turn the center of Seoul, South Korea, into an international business district.

Libeskind's firm announced on Tuesday in New York that it had been chosen as master planner for the US$20 billion project, which will include a cluster of skyscrapers in residential, office and retail neighborhoods along the Han River. It will also contain cultural and educational facilities and rapid transport systems.

The site is near the South Korean headquarters for the United States military, which is expected to move to a new base south of Seoul by 2012. The former military grounds are to be turned into a Central Park-like attraction as part of a long-overdue face-lift.

"The idea is to create a 21st century destination that is at once transformative, vibrant, sustainable and diverse," Libeskind said in a statement. "I wanted to make each form, each place, each neighborhood as varied and distinctive as possible."

Studio Daniel Libeskind was on a shortlist of five top firms competing for the project. The competitors also included US-based firms Asymptote Architecture and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP, along with Britain's Foster and Partners.

The project is slated to break ground in 2011.


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