Seoul is no stranger to the adaptive reuse of transit corridors: ten years ago, the city famously tore down a 14-lane freeway to develop Cheonggyecheon River Park, a 11-kilometer-long urban recreational space that snakes through Seoul’s downtown; the park is recognized as one of the world’s most celebrated urban renewal projects. Since the beginning of the 2000s, the city has demolished over a dozen other elevated motorways. With the Seoul Skygarden however, the city will remake one of the main east-west transit corridors into a 938-meter-long elevated park in the heart of Seoul.
Related: How the Cheonggyecheon River Urban Design Restored the Green Heart of Seoul
MVRDV’s Seoul Skygarden design centers on the addition of an arboretum that will include 254 local species of trees, shrubs, and flowers. This library of plants will be organized according to the Korean alphabet and visitors will be encouraged to learn about and take selfies next to their favorite local plant. The plant species will also be arranged in “neighborhood”-like clusters with consistent signage to differentiate the various spaces in the Skygarden.
In addition to the arboretum of local Korean plants, the Seoul Skygarden will include an urban nursery that will grow trees for surrounding districts and parks. The elevated park will be further activated with modular and customizable units for businesses and public amenities such as cafes, flower shops, street markets, libraries, and greenhouses. Stairs, escalators, elevators, and “satellite” gardens will connect the park with the urban fabric below. The Seoul Metropolitan Government expects to spend approximately $37.5 million on the elevated park project.
Images © MVRDV