Passing by a twelve-story department store in Uijeongbu, South Korea, one wouldn't imagine that atop the ninth floor sits a surprising 20,000-square-foot park! Architecture firm Olson Kundig Architects designed this rooftop Secret Garden as a playground for kids and a cultural center for the local community, hidden in an unexpected place-right amidst the hustle-bustle of the city. Here kids can enjoy a variety of spaces, from maze gardens to wading pools and tree houses, with figures from Korean art and mythology scattered throughout the park.
This green space is designed as “a series of outdoor rooms and includes areas for active play, as well as contemplation, for both children and adults”. It features native plants and fun, sustainable sculptures by Korean artist Do-Ho Suh made using locally salvaged materials and recycled timber. These whimsical pieces transform the park into a real playground for kids and, together with a variety of different structures and environments, creates a space which kids can explore and enjoy. Treehouses, wading pools, mazes and amazing plants constitute an engaging place for both parents and children.
The project follows a rising trend of creating public parks, gardens and green spaces amidst the densely populated and commercial parts of cities. These surprising patches of space provide fundamental elements for growth in both kids and adults.