Korean Highway Transformed into Park

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Robison Wells
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It may seem as though there’s not a lot you can do to remodel a highway. Streets are for driving, and without cars, they’re just narrow strips of concrete in the center of town.

Well, Netherlands-based architectural firm MVRDV (known for its outlandish and out-of-the-box thinking) looked at an abandoned highway in downtown Seoul, South Korea, and decided to take on the challenge.

At just under a kilometer of cement, MVRDV knew they needed something clever but also something big. The result was to make it into a park (or “plant village” as they like to call it). It’s on a grand scale: 24,000 trees and shrubs dot the former highway.

But more than just a walking park, it’s an arboretum. The plants are categorized by different plant families, splitting up groupings by color and smell. This will lead to a different experience depending on the area and the season. The groupings are also separated according to the the Korean alphabet, making the project culturally significant as well as aesthetically beautiful.

“Our design offers a living dictionary of plants which are part of the natural heritage of South Korea, now existing in the city center,” said MVRDV spokesman Winy Maas. “The idea here is to connect city dwellers with nature.”

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