Seoullo Skygarden: From Abandoned Highway to Linear Park

Seoullo Skygarden by Dutch architects MVRDV, an abandoned 1970s highway in Seoul, South Korea, that has been repurposed as an elevated urban park. (Image: MVRDV via WebUrbanist. Seoullo Skygarden)

Earlier this month Urban Ghosts visited Syracuse, New York, where Interstate 81 effectively splits the downtown in half, and has fuelled a compelling debate about the highway’s future (find out more about Rethinking I-81 here). This got us thinking about potential reuses for the urban road, and brought to mind a proposal we reported on back in 2015 to transform an abandoned highway into a linear urban park. That project (known as Seoullo Skygarden) has now come to fruition.

(Image: MVRDV via WebUrbanist)

The long-abandoned 1970s overpass in Seoul, South Korea, is now the domain of more than 24,000 different plants. It was designed by Dutch architects MVRDV, who delivered an elevated park connecting public spaces that had previously been fragmented by roads and railway infrastructure.

(Image: MVRDV via WebUrbanist)

WebUrbanist wrote: “The Skygarden is packed with 645 potted trees and around 228 species and sub-species of plants, adding a significant amount of greenery to a highly paved area of the city… The route is set up to create a network of hotels, shops, gardens and other attractions, enlivening the centre of the city.”

(Image: MVRDV via WebUrbanist)

The 1970s highway overpass was abandoned some years ago after it was found to be unsafe and not fit for its intended purpose. The task of turning the condemned structure into Seoullo Skygarden fell to MVRDV, whose designed incorporated a collection of individual small gardens, and created a landscape that would change with the seasons and evolve over time.

(Image: MVRDV via WebUrbanist)

MVRDV said that “new ‘satellite’ gardens can connect to the Skygarden, sprouting like branches from the existing structural piers.” They added: “These extensions can inspire further additions to the area’s greenery and public spaces, and will connect the Skygarden to its surroundings both physically and visually through plant species related to each of the neighborhoods.”

Hat tip: WebUrbanist.

Read Next: 10 Inspiring Examples of Adaptive Reuse Architecture


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