‘Seoul-ro 7017’ has been unveiled. The Seoul Station Overpass was waiting to be dismantled after fulfilling its role for nearly 40 years, but a decision was made in 2014 for it to be reused as part of urban regeneration. Safety issues were corrected, while its original form was preserved so that it could be in harmony with the surrounding environment. Also, the new road could become a platform in connecting Seoul Station to the Namdaemun Market, Myeong-dong, Namsan, and the west of Seoul Station. This was the challenge of the ‘Seoul-ro 7017’ project. Seoul City sought a new direction for Seoul-ro 7017 in terms of architecture, landscape, and structure through an international contest. The winner was ‘Seoul Arboretum’ of Winy Maas, a Dutch architect. Seoul Arboretum stresses that the Seoul Station Overpass will serve as the ‘connection between people and the center of the space leading to other neighborhoods.’ Seoul-ro 7017 is often compared to the New York High Line Park because of its similarity to the concept of an overhead garden in the city, but Winy Maas said, “I do not want to make it like New York’s High Line, so I deliberately designed it differently.” He stated that Seoul-ro has a completely different structure from High Line, and a different approach was required for High Line, which was a closed railroad, compared to Seoul-ro, which passes various spaces in the heart of the city. Also, Seoul-ro resembles the shape of a tree when seen from above, thus it is expected to grow like a tree over time.
What makes Seoul-ro 7017 so attractive? First of all, it connects the major attractions of Seoul through 17 trails, including Seoul Station, Namdaemun, Myeong-dong, and Namsan, so one can stroll around them. Each of the 17 trails is connected to the square and the lounge areas, Seoul Station, Hoehyeon Station, and the Fortress Wall of Seoul, making it easier for you to look around. You can also enjoy an open view of Seoul, which was not previously available under the overpass. The night view of the Seoul Station and the surrounding buildings is also new.
As an overhead arboretum, there will be 24,000 trees before your eyes. The trees will be arranged in the order of Hangul, so you can observe the appearances of different trees, as if you are walking through a <botanical book>. You can even stand next to the Retusa fringe tree and the magnolia tree. Seoul-ro has 228 species of unique plants laying roots over the overpass. The trees are mostly young, so you may be disappointed if you are expecting a luxurious forest or shade. However, this space has just been reborn. It will become more abundant, and it will be filled with affection and intimacy over time. You can imagine a space of fresh green vines crawling over the round plant pots in monotonous colors in a few years’ time because of the space. Additionally, you can look into this old structure, which has existed since 1970, through the hollow Skywalk all over the overpass. You can contemplate where you are today along with the fresh seedlings over a space that reflects the power of time. It is a space that is just right for that purpose.