Seoul Opens Its Own High Line
On May 20th the nearly kilometer-long Seoullo 7017, the transformation of an old highway overpass into an elevated park designed by the Dutch firm MVRDV, opened to the public in South Korea's capital city.
The name of the park translates to "Seoul Street," while the number 70 refers to 1970 – the year of the highway's construction – and the number 17 to its transformation into a planted pedestrian walkway this year. Seoullo 7017 is located next to Seoul's Central Station, about five kilometers south of the city's popular Cheonggyecheon River Park, which opened in 2005 after the demolition of a highway overpass and unearthing of an old river.
In 2006 the highway overpass received a "D" rating during a safety inspection, leading to calls for its demolition but also its eventual reuse as an elevated garden. That same year saw the start of the construction of the first phase of the High Line, the popular New York City park that must have been a precedent for the project. The highway overpass closed at the end of 2015 and the park's 18-month construction culminated in its opening over the weekend.
MVRDV, which won a 2015 competition for the project, describes their design as "a true plant village" with "the biggest variety of Korean plant species." These include around 228 species and sub-species of trees, shrubs and flowers displayed in 645 tree pots. They designed the elevated garden as "a collection of small gardens, each one with its very own composition, perfume, colour and identity."
MVRDV worked on the project with Dutch landscape architect Ben Kuipers, as well as local architect DMP and local landscape architect KECC.
Some background on the project from CNN:
And coverage of the project's opening from Airirang News: