You won’t get arrested for strolling along this highway, in fact, it’s encouraged. Dutch studio MVRDV recently won an international design competition to reimagine a stretch of highway rendered unusable by cars into a public park in Seoul, South Korea.
The 17 meter (56 foot) high structure formerly accessed the popular Namdaemun Market, on the north side of the city. The overpass was built in the 1970s, but failed to pass safety inspections in 2006 and was nearly demolished.
MVRDV’s winning design, dubbed “the Seoul Skygarden,” will incorporate 254 species of trees, shrubs, plants and flowers organized according to the Korean alphabet. The park encompasses nearly 9,661 square meters (103,990 square feet) of outdoor space and will include tea cafes, flower shops, street markets, libraries and greenhouses. There will also be an on-site nursery for seedlings to be raised and then planted throughout other parks in the city.
The park is also a shortcut of sorts — it will cut down the walk time to a nearby railway station from 25 minutes to 11. Stairs and escalators will also be added to the structure so it is accessible from multiple outlets. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in 2017. However, over time, the Seoul Skygarden will grow to include numerous ‘satellite gardens’ on the ground level which will connect to the overpass like branches.