Minneapolis-based Cuningham Group Architecture designed the home of the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
The Alpensia Resort in Pyeonchang, which was completed in 2009, originally was commissioned by the Korean government in hopes of winning the 2014 winter games. Instead, they went to Russia.
Jim Scheidel, a California-based principal with Cuningham who supervised Alpensia’s design, said the project was conceived as an international resort and recreation destination and is nestled in two adjacent valleys in Korea’s Gangwodo province.
Scheidel recalled Apensia was a public-private investment that probably cost more than $250 million.
It includes a five-star hotel and wellness center, two other hotels, waterpark, conference center, sports facilities, including ski jumps and several hundred residences.
“I remember walking the site in about 2006,” Scheidel said on Friday. “It was just potato fields.
“Now, the eyes of the world will be on Alpensia and its many exceptional venues.”
Pyeongchang is located some 80 miles east of the country's capital, Seoul, and about 60 miles south of the Demilitarized Zone dividing North Korea and South Korea. Opening and closing ceremonies will occur at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, a temporary venue that can seat 35,000 spectators, according to ABC News. Nicknamed “Alps in Asia,” the alpine-style village was designed as ayear-round destination with the help of Cuningham, whose L.A. office oversaw design and master planning.
Fifty-year-old Cuningham was founded in Minneapolis in 1968 by John Cuningham, who plans to retire later this year. It is one of the 15 largest architectural firms in the United States.
The firm, with 2017 revenue of about $100 million, employs 400 at its St. Anthony Main headquarters on the east bank of the Mississipi River, and at offices in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, Phoenix, Seoul, South Korea; Beijing, China; and elsewhere.