Elevated expressways are a common sight in big cities. As populations grow and traffic problems become insane, they’re meant to help tame the jams. Mostly they just get jammed up, but thems the breaks.
Unfortunately, they are butt ugly. We put up with them because they get us where we’re going.
But what about when they’ve outlived their purpose?
Then they’re just useless and ugly.
That’s just what architects in Seoul, Korea were tasked with solving. Built in 1970, the former inner-city highway was just sitting there being ugly.
A company called MVRDV won the project in 2015 and began the task of converting the steel and concrete structure into a beautiful public park.Two years later, the results are spectacular.
The park is called “Skygarden” in English, and “Seoullo 7017” in Korean. The “7017” part represents both the year the highway was built (1970) and the opening of the park (2017)
The park is 3225 feet long, and by the time it’s complete will boast 24,000 plants. Many of the young trees and shrubs will continue to grow, reaching their full heights in the next decade.Imagine how shaded and beautiful it will be then?
Even though it’s linear, the park is designed as a series of smaller gardens, each with its own feel and look.
In the spring, there will be cherry blossoms and fruit trees. In the fall, maples will provide colorful displays.
Beautifying the old highway was just one step in Seoul’s ongoing project to add far more greenery and nature into the city’s center.
They hope to connect all of the gardens and parks in the wider city area.Imagine: walking anywhere in an urban city while still enjoying nature instead of exhaust.
There are already plans for the overpass to keep evolving, as stairs and bridges connect directly with hotels, shops, and other public spaces.
There are also hopes of using the space as an “urban nursery”. Young trees and shrubs can be reared within the park until they are hearty and healthy, then moved to surrounding districts, continuing the greening of the city.
But it’s hiding one more surprise! At night, the entire park is illuminated in a lovely blue.
During festivals and other events, the colors can be changed to match the occasion.I would love to see some of our oldest, ugliest infrastructures beautified in this way, wouldn’t you?