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Tower Infinity: world’s first invisible skyscraper?

September 11, 2013

Now you see it, now you don't.

The Tower Infinity skyscraper going up outside Seoul, South Korea, will be invisible. Sort of.

The design wizards at GDS Architects didn't create a giant invisibility cloak. Instead, the glass-spired skyscraper, which recently received a construction permit, will incorporate an optical technology to make it appear as if it's not really there.

The idea, which nabbed the winning bid in 2008 for a landmark building near the Incheon International Airport, was conceived as an "antitower."

The 1,476-foot high-concept high-rise could have gone the typical showoffy route. But rather than building another "vanity tower," architects designed the crystalline structure to pull a disappearing act as it rises into the sky.

The firm explains, "Instead of symbolizing prominence as another of the world's 'tallest and best' towers, it sets itself apart by celebrating the global community rather than focusing on itself. The tower subtly demonstrates Korea's rising position in the world by establishing its most powerful presence through diminishing its presence."

So how do you hide a high-rise? The building will be covered in a skin of LED mesh bars along with 18 weatherproofed cameras, which will capture surrounding views and project them back onto the building. Depending on where you're standing in the city, GDS director Michael Collins told Yahoo Travel, "you see through it. Or the building could be partially visible."

Not to worry, this phenomenon happens only at ground level. Airplane pilots will see it as a normal building, complete with flashing warning lights.

The building was conceived to be "their Eiffel Tower," as Collins put it. But there's more. In addition to taking in the view from multiple observation decks, it's an entertainment venue — destination weddings, anyone? It will also boast the third-highest observation deck in the world.

Plus, there will be a 4D theater, restaurants, a water park and landscaped gardens. Even the elevator will be in on the fun: LED-covered walls will display global points of interest — say the Giza pyramids or, yes, even the Eiffel Tower.

Collins said of Tower Infinity, "We want it to function and serve the community and inspire people to experience life beyond what they're accustomed to."