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Seemingly impossible free-form building made possible

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Designed by Zaha Hadid, Dongdaemun Design Plaza was a challenging project to build because of the free-form design and the tight deadlines. To complete this largest free-form building in the world, Samsung C&T used Tekla’s software.

South Korea’s latest architectural icon, Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) in Seoul is a multipurpose cultural centre. Located in the 600-year-old Dongdaemun district, the hub of South Korea’s fashion industry, this 86,574sqm building is made up of five spaces which can hold international conferences, festivals, presentations of new products, fashion shows and various other events and serve as venues for business, shopping and relaxation. The five spaces are: the Art Hall, the Museum, the Design Lab, the Design Market and the Dongdaemun History and Culture Park.

At first glance DDP does not seem very tall, being just four stories above the ground. However, appearances are deceiving as the building has three underground levels. These seven levels, plus the building’s futuristic fluid lines, give DDP the distinction of being the world’s largest free-form building.

“Tekla Structures enabled us to extract all the detailed information needed for production planning such as bending and welding and the splice point of members of free curved shapes.

– Inbum Baek
Cost Engineer, DDP project

The Challenges with BIM

Samsung C&T, the general contractor of the DDP knew that the irregularly shaped building could not be created using 2D technology and decided to deploy BIM technology to complete this project. They used BIM for every aspect, ranging from civil groundwork and architecture structuring, MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) design to interior finishing and landscaping. In addition, it is believed to be the first public building project to use Building Information Modelling (BIM) software in South Korea.

While BIM made it easier to design the models, there were still challenges. Specifically, the data from the design models and the construction drawings did not match up in many areas such as the location of members of the framework and the steel detailing connection. The company used Tekla BIM to resolve the discrepancy between the 2D drawings and 3D design models. They created the 3D construction models to compare the information between the 2D drawings and 3D design models. Everything was matched in just three months and there were virtually no errors.

DDP is pillar-free internally and as a result, the wavy, free-form roof had to be supported using what is known as mega-truss technology. Furthermore, Samsung C&T ensured DDP’s constructability with Tekla BIM, which they utilized for coordination of steel members and clash checking between steel structures and external panels. They planned crane operation for lifting with the Tekla BIM model and this saved them time and money. Tekla BIM also helped in ensuring that the exterior of the building came together properly, no easy task as it consisted of 45,133 irregularly shaped exterior panels.

From Planning to Erection

Tekla Structures was used later in the process to extract all the detailed information needed for production planning such as bending and welding, and the splice point of members of free curved shapes. By calculating the exact radii values, Tekla Structures helped fabricate all the steel members of the roof quickly and cost efficiently.

Samsung C&T easily extracted all the information needed such as the Bill of Materials for fabrication, place orders for building materials and deliver them on time for fabrication. In addition, they used Tekla Structures to extract accurate design and erection drawings.

Benefits of Tekla

Tekla models contain all information for detailing, fabrication, and construction.

Tekla interfaces with other software solutions, ensuring efficient collaboration. Using the IFC format, Tekla also allows efficient data exchange between different software platforms.

Reduces lead times with faster detailing.

Tekla’s effective change management ensures that related parts change correspondingly.

Tekla’s model provides up-to-date, accurate building information. Related structural information, drawings, reports and other documents automatically update with the model.

Using Tekla software increases detailing quality and keeps it consistent with fewer errors in fabrication and erection.



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