Arboretum on former Korean motorway

    In the heart of metropolitan Seoul, you can walk up a 17-m high viaduct and catch up on your knowledge of plants. Dutch design agency MVRDV turned the former motorway into a huge plant display. The large selection of species that’s lined up along the 1-km stretch includes many interesting examples. From the vast Rosaceae family to the more modest Ginkgoceae.

    The official opening of the green, pedestrian viaduct in South Korea’s capital city took place in May 2017. The so-called Skygarden Seoullo 7017 spans across the railway lines and connects the eastern and western parts of the city.

    Photo Ossip van Duivenbode

    The viaduct from 1970 had been in use as an inner-city motorway. When it was found to be in poor condition the city council decided they wanted to pedestrianise the viaduct. Several renowned, international agencies were invited to submit a design for the 1-km long motorway, which splits into three branches at the western end. In 2015, the city council reviewed all proposals and selected the plans submitted by MVRDV.

    Urban climate

    According to landscape architect Ben Kuipers, who was part of the design team, one of the reasons the Dutch design won, was because it incorporated so much greenery. He says: “Most Asian cities are competing for record-breaking high-rise buildings, but Seoul and Singapore for example, want to excel in terms of urban climate, they want to invest in the living environment.” (..)

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