Seoul turns 1970s overpass into avenue of botanical delight

An urban transformation scheme in Seoul sees residents now able to stroll and contemplate nature where cars once roared or sat in traffic spewing fumes.

Designed by Dutch architect MVRDV, the near-kilometre-long "floating" botanical walkway has opened on the site of a 1970-built elevated highway in the South Korean capital.

"Seoullo 7017" is a 983-metre linear park with over 200 local species of trees, shrubs and flowers intended as a contemplative "plant library" for residents and visitors to the hectic city.

Seoullo, the Korean name for the skygarden, translates as "towards Seoul" and "Seoul Street", while "7017" combines the year of the overpass’s construction in 1970 with its rebirth this year as a public walkway.

The route has a collection of small gardens, each one with its very own composition, perfume, colour and identity with a total of 24,000 plants across the walkway.

The landscape will change according to the seasons: the bright colours of leaves in autumn of the Aceraceae family (maples), the blossom of cherry trees and rhododendron in spring, the evergreen conifers in winter and shrubs and trees bearing fruit in summer.

MVRDV was awarded the design contract in May 2015 and collaborated with the municipality, local NGO’s, landscape teams and city advisers.

Images courtesy of MVRDV

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