Seoul Highway Overpass Transformed Into Elevated Public Skygarden

October 10, 2017 by

With the opening of Seoullo 7017, a new elevated public park on the site of a decommissioned highway overpass, the city of Seoul has introduced a pedestrian oasis and much-needed urban green space to the central station district of its concrete jungle. 

Following in the footsteps of  New York’s High Line and its Parisian ancestor, The Promenade Plantée, both revitalization projects on former railway tracks, Seouillo is 983 meters (over a half mile) of elevated parkway that weaves in and around the city’s congested network of crowded roads.

 Photo: Yuri Hyun

Seoullo, the Korean name for Skygarden, translates to ‘towards Seoul’ and ‘Seoul Street’ which is why the park is also known as Seoul Skygarden or Skypark. The 7017 in its name is a nod to the park’s origins: 70 for the year the overpass was first constructed, and 17 for the year of the its rebirth as a green space.

Designed as a series of small interconnected gardens, the park contains the largest variety of Korean plant species anywhere–50 families of plants composed of approximately 228 species and sub-species of trees, shrubs and flowers planted in 645 containers.

 Photo: Yuri Hyun

A landscape that changes with each season, the maple trees leaves will turn bright and colorful in autumn and the cherry trees and rhododendrons will blossom in spring. In summer, the shrubs and trees will bear fruit, while the evergreen conifer trees will keep the landscape verdant all winter.

Over the next decade, many of the park’s newly planted 24,000 trees, shrubs and flowers will grow to their maximum heights to create an even more verdant space.

 Photo: Yuri Hyun

The park’s designers, Rotterdam-based design firm MVRDV, envisioned turning the existing concrete infrastructure into “a living nursery” and a catalyst for greening other parts of the city.

 Photo: Yuri Hyun

The long-term vision includes satellite gardens sprouting like branches from the Skygarden to form a network of public green spaces cultivating a variety of native plant species.

 Photo: Yuri Hyun

The park’s umbrella concept has it evolving into a hub of social and cultural activity accessible from new bridges and stairs that connect the landscaped spaces with hotels, shops, and restaurants.

 Photo: Yuri Hyun

At nightfall, the Skygarden’s winding pathways are aglow with blue lighting, a peaceful and visually soothing place of respite against the backdrop of bright city lights.

Photos: Ossip van Duivenbode, unless otherwise noted.

 

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