MVRDV, the Dutch star architects have completed a project that has been likened to New York’s High Line, which was designed by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scorfidio + Renfro architects. The Seoullo 7017, an almost kilometre long pedestrian walkway raised above the centre of Seoul, does bare similarities to the High Line in that it hovers about the city’s roads and is developed from what used to be a vehicle-only thoroughfare. However, it is quite a different design, in a very different urban environment.
Seoullo 7017 used to be an elevated highway. Built in the 1970s, it was disused and bound for demolition. Its central location, that passes over Seoul Station and connects several neighbourhoods, means that it was a perfect project to repurpose as a pedestrian overbridge. The walkway has been supplanted with small bridges that shoot off to connect the arterial path with various shopping areas. It has been populated with circular concrete planters along its length, some of which double as benches for the city dwellers to stop and enjoy the sunshine. Their curved forms provide a pleasant contrast to Seoul’s cityscape that is dominated by uniform grey high-rises, with their angular lines. At night, the planters are set aglow with blue feature lights, creating a sort of a milky-way through the city. There are plans for Seoullo 7017 to function as a nursery, spreading its greenery to other parts of the city. It’s a simple design, but makes for a significantly enjoyable walk in comparison to the busy traffic laden streets below.