A Deserted Highway is Now a Plant Village in Seoul, South Korea
By Pooja Bhatia

An abandoned old site of the capital city of South Korea, an overpass in the centre of Seoul, has now been converted into Plant Village, a beautiful green walkway. The complete length of this vegetated passage is 983 meters, and it appears in the form of a long-elevated sky way.

The beauty of the new public site lies in the manner of its construction. It purposely keeps people away from the crowded streets. All they need to do is to choose to climb few steps up to the green walkway. Owing to its height, you make a deliberate choice to rest in a place which seems far off from the close city quarters. It is an easy escape from the noise of the busy streets. The long stretch has been beautifully decorated in greenery. So, it naturally offers a wave of fresh air as you walk through the length or breadth of the elongated highway now.

It is no surprise then that the name “Plant Village” was bestowed on the green wealth of the site. People enjoy spending time here and do something aside from the monotony of a city life. The fact that it is so accessible gives the ‘plant village’ majority of its popularity due. There is plenty to do here. Like, stroll in the evening and enjoy the natural beauty of trees, shrubs and greenery surrounding you. It is full of bliss.

This local experience has a special spot on the city map for good reasons. People are warming up to this new concept of breaking the monotony. This really was the whole idea when the Dutch Architectural supremo MVRDV was appointed to turn an abandoned site into something meaningful.

MVRDV was entrusted with the responsibility to convert the deserted overpass purposefully for the city dwellers, especially the pedestrians. And, it did deliver exactly on it. If we look at their past records, it is not really surprising from them to add value by transforming a defunct space into contemporary use. The company has been applauded in the past for investing time and money to execute similar projects. Their Netherlands Pavilion construction during the World EXPO 2000 in Hannover; The Stairs to Criterion; The Randstad Hyde Park; the Amsterdam Lloyd Hotel and, the recent ‘Plant Village’ project has made them famous in the archaeological world.

The present design of the 1970s Seoul Highway is addressed as Seoullo 7017 in Korea, which means “Seoul Street,” referring to its original year of construction and the time it was redesigned. The whole space is a green walkway and a public entertainment zone with tea houses, galleries, dining options and a theatre. Old highway ramps are made into stairs and elevators to ascend and descend the sky way.

It is called the ‘Plant Village’ rightly so, because the sky garden has different species of plants and shrubs, creating a fresh environment in and around the area. This natural botanical display consists of different flowers classified according to fragrance, color and seasons. There are 24,000 trees, shrubs and flowers, which highlight the beautiful story of Korean flora and fauna. At night, the sky way is a brilliant display of blue illumination, which is considered to be good for plants’ health.

The green spot is the nucleus of the city and adds an element of natural decor. A visitor to the site can also witness the stunning views of the Historical Seoul Station and Namdaemun Gate. There are many reasons to call it the city’s centerpiece; the Seoul sky garden connects to the city’s central station, the Namdaemun Market, and has Malli-dong, Jungnim-dong, and Cheongpa-don attached to its ends. The skyline is also connected to the hotels, shops and gardens and it adorns a futuristic design and style to plug new connections to the street level and more parks to be laid in the future.

Image Courtesy : https://www.mvrdv.nl












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