Amanda Sawit

This past October, South Korea played host to the PGA Tour’s 2015 Presidents Cup, making history with the tournament’s first-ever location in Asia.

More than 100,000 visitors flooded the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea (JNGCK), located in the Songdo International Business District (IBD) about 35 miles from Seoul. The master planned city is one of the largest public-private real estate ventures worldwide, and was developed by Gale International with POSCO E&C and master plan designers Kohn Pedersen Fox. To date, Songdo IBD has 22 million square feet of LEED-certified space, collectively representing 40 percent of all the LEED-certified space in the country.

Built with the intention of hosting global events like the President’s Cup, Songdo IBD is a prime example of the broad applications and benefits of the LEED credentialing system, which includes fostering international collaboration within the green building market.

Songdo IBD has 40 percent green space—an especially high percentage for any city, but particularly so in Asia. Located at the southernmost edge of the IBD, JNGCK is one of the focal points of Songdo’s environmentally focused green space program. The course is built on tidal flats and sediment and provides more than 190 acres of newly created green space. Not only does this improve the overall carbon footprint of the city, but membership and greens fees also make it self-sufficient in terms of the maintenance and operations.

Central to JNGCK is its state-of-the-art clubhouse, which was LEED-certified in September. The 50,000-square-foot facility was designed by internationally renowned architect Mehrdad Yazdani of Cannon Design, and incorporates elegant architectural and structural design while minimizing energy consumption and leveraging sustainable materials.

Notable features of the space include a high efficiency displacement ventilation system, 360-degree views of the ocean and Songdo skyline that also maximize daylighting and external solar shading elements such as overhangs and fins. Fitted with curved zinc roofs, the clubhouse’s pavilions sit on stone plinths and pilasters made from local Merbau wood that minimize glare and heat gain in the space.

In keeping with sustainable building practices, lead engineer and USGBC platinum member Arup incorporated green engineering technologies during construction of the course, with special attention paid to on-course water conservation and use. JNGCK uses SubAir systems that pull water out of the greens when wet and push water into the greens when dry to maintain the soil profile and help with temperature moderation during extreme weather events. Ponds collect rainwater runoff, where the water is then cleaned by plants and reused to irrigate the greens. The course’s hydraulically interconnected water features allow it to act as a stormwater sponge for the city to help with flood management; this also means that there is only one discharge to the city’s water system.

JNGCK’s sustainable features help Gale International meet the core design goals it established when city planning first got under way, including green space; water consumption, storage and re-use; carbon emissions and energy use; and sustainable city operations. These are ambitious targets, but by marrying best-in-class design with sustainable strategies, JNGCK and Songdo IBD have become a model for replication by large-scale development projects across the globe.

Read more about Songdo IBD