MVRDV's Seoul Skygarden will be a walk in the park
Dutch architecture firm MVRDV has unveiled plans to transform a large stretch of unused raised highway in Seoul, South Korea, into a pedestrian-friendly skygarden. The Seoul Skygarden is due for completion in 2017 and will also include some retail spaces, such as cafés, flower shops, and street markets.
MVRDV's involvement in the project follows an international architecture competition to renovate the city's 17-m (55-ft) high Seoul Station Overpass, which dates back to the 1970s and was due to be demolished.
The firm is working alongside various landscaping and engineering experts to turn the 938-m (3,077-ft)-long stretch of highway into a garden. It will include 254 species of trees, shrubs, and flowers organized to reflect the Korean alphabet. Besides the aforementioned retail spaces MVRDV will also install a plant nursery, and hopes that the raised park could inspire other nearby satellite gardens which could potentially be connected by stairs and walkways.
As an added bonus, Seoul Skygarden will also cut the walk times of pedestrians navigating the route around the nearby railway station from 25 minutes to just 11 minutes.
Since the success of NYC's High Line, these kind of projects are very much in vogue with city planners and architects. The fact that the Seoul Institute and Korea Planners Association reckon the project could generate as much as 1.83 times the cost of its construction and maintenance in economic benefits can't have hurt its chances of being realized, either.