Lately, I’ve been reading about Fazlur Khan since I’m a big fan of his philosophy, vision, and thoughts. As I was reading a book written by his daughter, Yasmin Khan, I was surprised to learn that he had traveled to Korea for a building project. The building is called 63 Building. Who knew?
SOM had first entered negotiation with Lucky Development Company (an affiliate of the Lucky-Goldstar Group) in 1978. At that time, a 51-story office tower, with a program area of 1.7 million square feet, was anticipated. Khan had traveled to Seoul to meet with the client to discuss the headquarters project, and, as was his habit, he made note of lifestyles, local food, and important phrases in Korean. The job was put on hold at that point, but when it was resumed, the client had not forgotten his sensitivity to the cultural setting of the project.
Presentation of the final report on schematic design development was scheduled for March 1982, at which time SOM aimed to obtain authorization to proceed into the next design phase. For this meeting, the client specifically requested that Khan be present.
I lived near the capital of Illinois, Springfield, which was about 4 hours drive south of the Chicago loop, so when I placed my eyes on the Sears tower for the first time, I was instantly captivated by its design and structure. I knew it was different from any other building due to its bundled tube system, which was first of its kind and I investigated to see who designed the building. The guy would be Fazlur Khan. Then, I saw the John Hancock Center building. Simply beautiful; Batman would feel right at home in that building. I wondered who designed the building. It was Fazlur Khan again. And when I visited in Korea last summer, I saw the 63 building and this time, there was no need to investigate; I knew in my mind it was designed by SOM firm since one can easily see similarities in the architecture. I had no idea that Fazlur was a part of this project too and had visited the country. This has been stated by the reading of his daughter’s book. Plus, the 63 building was featured as a landmark in the SimCity 3000 and SimCity 4, and was on the cover of SimCity 3000 Unlimited. SimCity was my fave childhood Nintendo game. Awesome. :D
*The book also notes that it was Khan’s last overseas trip before he met his death in March 1982.