Seonyudo Park

‘Seonyudo Island,’ so named because it was known as an ‘island where the immortal used to play,’ is a cozy island in the Han River and is connected to the Yanghwa Bridge in Yanghwadong, Yeongdeungpo-gu. Seonyudo Park was opened to the public in 2002 after the shutdown of the Han River Water Purification Plant. The works of Architect Sungryong Cho and Landscape Designer Youngsun Jung have won the Architectural Award of Seoul, the Soo Geun Kim Cultural Award, and the Korea Institute of Architects Award, and they were also named as the 3rd best contemporary architecture of Korea. Architect Sungryong Cho explained that he wanted to create a unique location that highlighted time, architecture, and nature when he designed Seonyudo Park. Therefore, he preserved the preexisting facilities and blurred the boundaries between architecture and landscaping as much as possible. Among the previous facilities of the Seonyu Water Purification Plant, he examined several major buildings and structures, and recycled them into a water purifying garden with about 200 native plants, a garden of green columns, an aquatic plant garden, and a time garden. Other facilities include entertainment and cultural spaces, such as the greenery, an environmental water playground, an environmental square, and a small amphitheater, while there are also information/education/exhibition spaces, such as the Han River Exhibit, a visitor center, an environmental atelier, and amenities, such as a cafeteria and rest rooms. Anyone who visits the Seonyudo Park would walk among the old concrete columns in recognition that this site used to be a water purifying plant, even if they did not know about it.

Parks that use modern industrial facilities include the Landschaft Park of Duisburg-Nord in Ruhr, Germany, which used to be a gigantic refinery, and Gasworks Park in Seattle, Washington. In Korea, Seonyudo Park is the first recycled eco park. It is a vast place that is as wide as 15 soccer fields, but it does not seem very big when you walk around it because each space is well-organized. Seonyudo Park has many high and low paths, and you will arrive at the spaces under different themes as you follow the paths. Among these paths is the ‘Water Garden,’ the major theme of the park. The water from three water tanks flows to the greenhouse and the water purifying garden. The water purifying garden is where you can observe how the water is purified along the stepped water tank where aquatic plants grow. Also, the water from this garden passes the waterway with reeds in the environmental water playground to the aquatic plant garden and the time garden. You can see various aquatic plants at the aquatic plant garden. The time garden preserves and recycles most of the structures of the water purifying plant. And the liveliness of the plants growing on the old concrete are impressive. You can realize that everything you see now is developing history on top of numerous experiences and time.

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