ISPA Conference & Expo
ISPA Conference & Expo
ISPA Conference & Expo

News feature

Seoul Skygarden

The mayor of Seoul, Won-soon Park, has officially opened a 983 metre long botanical ‘floating walkway’ along a transformed city highway


Designed by Dutch architects MVRDV, the Skygarden, also known as Seoullo 7017, is a linear park featuring 24,000 plants, trees, shrubs and flowers from 200 local species – creating “a walkable plant library” for residents and visitors to the city.

“Skygarden offers a living dictionary of plants which are part of the natural heritage of South Korea,” said MVRDV founder Winy Maas.

“They are planted in containers of different size and height and organised in groups of families. The families are ordered according to the Korean alphabet. This leads to surprising spatial compositions”.

Inspired in part by New York’s High Line, the project was conceived to make the city, and especially the central station district, greener, friendlier and more attractive, whilst connecting all patches of green in the wider area.

The architects, the municipality, local NGOs, landscape teams and city advisers all collaborated on the project. New bridges and stairs connect the overpass with hotels, shops, cafés, viewpoints and gardens – integrating the scheme with the communities it passes over.

The Skygarden is separated into several zones, including a collection of small gardens with their own compositions, perfumes, colours and seasonal themes.

At night, the park is illuminated with blue lights, and during festivals and celebrations, different colours can be used to create a celebratory atmosphere.

MVRDV worked together with co-architects, DMP, and a dedicated team of experts including Saman Engineering for structural consultation, Rogier van der Heide and Nanam ALD for lighting, and Ben Kuipers and KECC on the landscape design and plant varieties.

The name ‘Seoullo’ translates as ‘towards Seoul’, while 7017 marks the overpass’ construction year of 1970, and its new function as a public walkway in 2017. There are also 17 connected paths on the route, and the overpass is 17 metres high.

In his own words

Winy Maas, MVRDV

Winy Maas, MVRDV / Martin Dijkstra for Dutch Design Week
Winy Maas, MVRDV Martin Dijkstra for Dutch Design Week

This is an example of how public investment in an area of a city that needs attention can be a catalyst for other developments. The area around the site is already coming alive. I think a project like this is good for Seoul; a city that has another kind of urbanism. It’s exciting to walk along the overpass and through the parks. The technical aspect of installing greenery on top of a structure from the 1950s, built originally with bad concrete and a load-bearing system that wasn’t efficient, was a big challenge. With the focus of city architects and the mayor, and a great collaboration with local government, we’ve been successful in delivering something that I really like.

Seoul's deputy mayor, Kim Joon-Kee,
talks to CLAD about the project

Seoul's deputy mayor, Kim Joon-Kee
Seoul's deputy mayor, Kim Joon-Kee

What inspired the idea to create this park in the sky?
In 2014, we started discussing the idea because of concerns about the safety of citizens. The Seoul Station Overpass – which was built in 1970, crossing east and west of Seoul Station to relieve traffic congestion – was no longer able to serve as a road, despite continuous maintenance. Initially, the city government had considered demolishing it, but we finally came up with the idea of reusing it as a pedestrian-friendly walkway. This decision resolved its safety problems.

Seoul is a city where tradition and modernity harmoniously co-exist. What Seoul needs is urban regeneration that restores historic buildings and connects cultural heritage, rather than the kind of construction and development it has seen in the past. Based on these values, we intended to revitalise the surrounding area through the addition of the walkway, while preserving the historical features of the Seoul Station Overpass.

Do you think there’s potential for cities wanting to reuse their existing infrastructure in this way?
Yes, there are many opportunities for other cities that want to reuse their existing infrastructure instead of getting rid of it. Reusing existing infrastructure will make cities realise that 21st century sustainable growth strategies create future value through a paradigm shift that complements and integrates preservation and change in the city.

What’s been the reaction?
The Seoullo 7017 is a symbol of the transformation of Seoul from a development-centred city into a renewed, sustainable one. But it's the starting point of this transformation, not the end. We expect citizens and visitors to now walk around downtown Seoul in 20 minutes using the Seoullo 7017. With Seoul’s aim of becoming a walkable city, this garden will improve citizens' quality of life and revive the local economy.

Visitors can observe life taking place on the roads and streets below Seoullo 7017
Visitors can observe life taking place on the roads and streets below Seoullo 7017
Gallery
Click on an image to open the image gallery
company profile
Company profile: TechnoAlpin
TechnoAlpin is the world leader for snowmaking systems. Our product portfolio includes all different types of snow-making equipment for outdoor and innovative holistic solutions for indoor applications.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
The hotel features an underwater restaurant and aquarium
Martin Jochman founded JADE+QA in 2013. He formerly worked for Atkins
"We didn’t want to put in any gimmicks. We wanted to create a building that’s inherently sustainable through passive sustainability"

When Martin Jochman set out to transform an old quarry into a luxury hotel, he faced some serious challenges

SHL are revitalising Boston’s World Trade Center hotel and conference facility
"Most clients are very focused on how buildings are used and experienced as the primary design driver"

The MD of Schmidt Hammer Lassen and the CEO of PerkinsWill tell us why their merger will help create smarter buildings driven by human behaviour

The design features raised walkways to protect the jungle floor
Heather Henninger (left) and Nathan Stevenson (right)
"Our goal is to be one of the largest dedicated green wellness communities in the world"

A new green wellness community for Mexico

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Sugar Hill, Manhattan, features affordable housing, educational faciliites and a children’s museum
"The museum is about rethinking the connection between Africa and America"

Ahead of the launch of the National Museum of African American History & Culture, its designer tells us what the project means to him

Boeri’s first vertical forests are neighbouring residential towers in central Milan, each with 900 trees and 20,000 shrubs
Stefano Boeri is working on a number of major green schemes in China
"We’re creating new spheres, where people, trees and animals can coexist in an environment of wellness"

On how the vertical forest model promotes wellness

Olthuis’ Sea Tree concept creates high density green spots where wildlife and plants can thrive
Architect Koen Olthuis
"I mean flexibility on a larger scale, where cities and urban planners are able to move a complete neighbourhood half a mile"

Architect Koen Olthuis says floating buildings will change the world

The hotel offers guided day trips on a private yacht to explore the local scenery and wildlife
Project architect Humberto Plaza
"You can feel God here. When I first saw the site, it felt like heaven on earth. I fell instantly in love with it "

Designing an eco hotel for the Galapagos Islands that allowed the stunning natural surroundings to take centre stage while minimising its impact on the land presented its own unique set of challenges, Ecuadorian architect Humberto Plaza tells Kathryn Hudson

cladkit product news
Mather & Co and ITV unite to create Coronation Street Experience
Mather & Co has transformed the visitor centre into the ultimate haven for ardent Coronation Street viewers
Magali Robathan
Experience designers, Mather & Co, have orchestrated a remarkable collaboration with ITV to unveil the new Coronation Street Experience, a ...
Codelocks develops new glass door smart lock
The new lock model allows facilities and building managers to create and manage access via an app or online portal
Megan Whitby
Codelocks has launched its first glass door smart lock to bring intelligent access control to modern spa, leisure, fitness and ...
Koto Design introduces wood-fired hot tub
Koto is known for crafting modular, energy-neutral cabins and homes
Katie Barnes
A striking wood-fired hot tub has been unveiled by Koto, an architecture and design studio which has a passion for ...
cladkit product news
Alberto Apostoli and Newform collaborate to launch the A.Zeta showerhead
The showerhead offers two modes; rainfall or waterfall
Megan Whitby
Italian architect Alberto Apostoli has renewed his partnership with Newform – an Italian wellness company – and designed A.Zeta. A.Zeta ...
Alberto Apostoli designs tech-forward Wellness Therapy furniture collection for Varaschin
The furniture collection draws on absolute geometries, pure lines, neutral colours and strong references to nature
Megan Whitby
Furniture manufacturer Varaschin has unveiled the new Wellness Therapy range, designed by Italian spa and wellness architect and designer Alberto ...
Fabio Alemanno Design uses elegant semi-precious stones to create memorable spa experiences
Alemanno believes the stones are well-placed in the spa environment thanks to their capacity to positively support physical and mental health
Megan Whitby
Fabio Alemanno Design has expanded its collection with semi-precious stones to enhance spas, wellness facilities, hotels and private residences. The ...
cladkit product news
Siminetti unveils iridescent decorative panelling range inspired by plants
The Clematis design
Megan Whitby
The Botanicals is Siminetti’s newest Mother of Pearl decorative panelling collection, inspired by the distinctive patterns found in botany and ...
Eden project uses drones to spell out climate change warning
Magali Robathan
Almost 300 drones were used to signal an environmental message above the Eden Project’s biomes, during the UN Climate Change ...
Jaffe Holden helps bring Academy Museum of Motion Pictures alive
Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics for the Academy Museum
Magali Robathan
Acoustical consulting firm Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics and audio/video design services for the recently opened Academy Museum of Motion ...
ISPA Conference & Expo
ISPA Conference & Expo