Abandoned Highway in Seoul Transformed into Elevated Park with 24,000 Plants

Seoul Skygarden

Unused architecture can find new life in unexpected ways. In New York City, a set of above-ground train tracks was transformed into an innovative linear park called the High Line, and it has proved to be a haven for tourists and residents alike. Seoul has followed suit with the recent opening of Skygarden, a 983-meter-long once-abandoned highway converted into a lush elevated walkway. At night, the unconventional park is illuminated with a tranquil blue glow.

Rotterdam-based architecture firm MVRDV is responsible for the look and feel of the Seoul Skygarden, which is locally known as Seoullo 7017. They’ve taken a previously cold, concrete structure and infused it with life by adding large planters artfully arranged along the walkway. All told, it features 24,000 individual plants from 228 species and subspecies. “Our design offers a living dictionary of plants which are part of the natural heritage of South Korea and now, existing in the city center,” Winy Maas, founding partner of MVRDV, said. “The idea here is to connect city dwellers with nature, while at the same time also offering the opportunity of experiencing these amazing views to the Historical Seoul Station and Namdaemun Gate.”

When Maas says “living dictionary,” they mean it. While Seoullo 7017 is a place of reprieve, it’s also an educational experience. “They [plants] are planted in containers of different size and height and organized in groups of families. The families are ordered according to the Korean alphabet,” explained Maas. “This leads to surprising spatial compositions.” It also changes specific areas of the park depending on the time of year. Maple trees, for example, decorate the Skygarden with vibrant foliage in the fall, while cherry blossoms will help ring in the spring season.

Although the primary focus of the park is its plants, there’s a commercial component as well. Galleries, tea houses, a theater, and restaurants are located along the walkway and accessible via both its path and a series of on-ramps located throughout.

In Seoul, South Korea, an unused 983-meter-long  was transformed into a lush elevated walkway.

Abandoned Highway Elevated Park Abandoned Highway Elevated Park Recycled Architecture Seoul Skygarden

The innovative linear park features 24,000 individual plants from 228 species. Visitors can bask in the greenery and learn about the species that are artfully arranged on the path.

Elevated Walkway Seoul Skygarden Seoul Skygarden Recycled Architecture Elevated Walkway Elevated Walkway Elevated Walkway Elevated Walkway Abandoned Highway Elevated Park Recycled Architecture

At night, the Seoul Skygarden casts a blue glow.

Recycled Architecture Abandoned Highway Elevated Park

MVRDV: Website
h/t: [ArchDaily]

All images via Ossip van Duivenbode.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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