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Where'd that building go? Korea to get 'invisible' skyscraper

Now you see it, now you don't. A 1,476-foot tower planned for construction just outside of Seoul, South Korea, appears to disappear through optical technology.

A concept drawing of the Tower Infinity.
GDS Architects

If you're among those eagerly awaiting a working invisibility cloak, get ready to be jealous. A South Korean skyscraper may get one before we humble (and highly visible) humans do.

International architectural firm GDS Architects reports that it's received a construction permit to begin building "the world's first invisible tower." The Tower Infinity will stand 450 meters (1,476 feet) and be situated in Cheongna, near the Incheon Airport just outside of Seoul.

Like other concepts for invisibility cloaks that have tantalized the geeky imagination, this one relies on optical illusion.

The glass-encased Tower Infinity, also called City Tower, will be fitted with a high-tech LED facade that integrates projectors and 18 strategically placed weatherproof optical cameras.

The cams will snap real-time pictures of the area directly behind the building, digitally stitch the images into a panorama, and project them back onto the building's reflective surface. That will create the illusion that viewers are looking straight through the structure to the other side, making it appear to blend into the skyline at certain times of day.

"The tower subtly demonstrates Korea's rising position in the world by establishing its powerful presence through diminishing its presence," reads a description on the GDS site. "Korea will have the unique position of having the 'best' tower by having an 'anti-tower."

Do note, though, that the concept's not just about symbolism.

"This same technology also allows the tower to become a 450-meter-tall billboard screen and urban focal point for all arriving at Incheon," GDS says in a statement. No word year on the relationship between the structure's invisibility and planes from the nearby airport.

In addition to possessing superhero capabilities, the tower will house a 4D theater, a water park, landscaped gardens, and the third-highest observation deck in the world. GDS has not revealed a target completion date.

An explanation of how the optical technology works. (Click to enlarge.) GDS Architects

(Via Forbes)