Seoul, South Korea is now home to a green oasis in the middle of the city. The Asian metropolis has become the latest to hop on the urban planning trend of turning overpasses into parks, and the results are vibrant and visually stunning.
The project titled Seoullo 7017 represents a huge contribution towards the city's efforts to make its streets greener and more pedestrian-friendly. The former highway—which was built in 1970 and closed in 2006 amid concerns about its structural soundness—has been converted into a sprawling elevated garden that boasts the biggest variety of Korean plant species, including 24,000 flowers, trees and shrubs. The revamped overpass-turned-public park stands 55 feet above ground and connects three of the city's neighborhoods with the Namdaemun Market.
Seoullo translates to "towards Seoul" and "Seoul Street," while 7017 signifies the construction years of the original highway and the new garden, respectively. Dutch architecture firm MRVDV designed the $33 million local government-funded garden, which opened in late May.
According to MRVDV, the park stretches 3,000 feet throughout the city center and is arranged according to the Korean alphabet in order to help visitors learn about all of the different plant species. Each of the small gardens in Seoullo has a distinct identity, color, composition and scent.
Visitors can access the sky garden by several sets of stairs, elevators and bridges placed at various points. The elevated garden also features vendors, plant sculptures, street food markets, exhibitions and flower shops.
When the sun sets, blue lights will illuminate each piece of greenery, giving off a soft glow that stands out against the lights of the city skyline.
While the sky garden is just getting started on its revitalization journey, its plans for the future are huge. Seoullo will eventually serve as a nursery that produces plants for several of the city's surrounding districts.