By Choi Kyong-ae
Incheon is expected to have a skyscraper as a landmark structure in its free economic zone with a very special feature ― invisibility.
If completed, the landmark building will be the second-highest skyscraper in Korea after the second Lotte World, an amusement park, being built by Lotte Group in eastern Seoul.
A consortium of GDS Korea, Samoo Architects & Engineers, and A&U Design Group won a bid in January last year to do the basic design for the 25-story building to be named the City Tower, an official in charge of the project at the Korea Land & Housing Corp. told The Korea Times by telephone.
"A builder and planning company to initiate the project in Incheon's Cheongna district have yet to be selected," the official said asking not to be named. "It will take at least two to three years before construction kicks off."
After it approved the landmark project last month, the Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority (IFEZ) has held presentations to attract investors from the private sector, said the official. He said it will take about 300 billion won ($275 million) to build the frame of the 450-meter tower with a spire-shaped rooftop.
The IFEZ officials were not available for comment.
How the invisibility function woks is as follows: cameras built on City Tower will take pictures of the sky behind it and transmit them to the front, tricking the eyes into believing the tower has disappeared.
On the possibility that the optical illusion could pose a risk to air traffic, the state-run housing corporation official said "the invisibility trick will be performed for about 30 minutes a day right before sunset for a group of tourists standing in a designated area. So no safety issues are expected."
City Tower will be located about 15 kilometers east of Incheon International Airport, the main air hub of Asia's fourth-largest economy.
Lotte Group, a chemical-to-confectionery conglomerate, is planning to complete its 123-story, 555-meter amusement park in Jamsil by 2016 in a 3.5 trillion won project, despite objections raised by the Air Force as it is close to Seoul Airport.