The underground idle space (850㎡), stretching from Jonggak Station of Seoul subway Line 1 to Jongno Books, will open in October 2019 as an underground garden that uses solar energy to grow its vegetation.
This project’s main facility is the solar lighting system that draws in sunlight below ground to create an underground environment favorable for plant growth. Natural light is drawn in through eight lighting systems in the ceiling to recreate a sunlit, cave-like atmosphere.
During the night hours, on rainy or foggy days when there is little sunlight, the solar lighting system will automatically switch to LED lighting to allow for regular illuminance regardless of the weather outside. Canopies that reflect and intensify light will be installed on the ceiling, and the light and plants will be mirrored on the canopy to present an ambience like that of a botanical garden.
The garden where plants are grown will be approximately one-sixth (145㎡) of the total space. The underground garden will create a small botanical garden in the city with growing vegetation all year round, including fruit-bearing trees that require intensive sunlight, such as lemon trees and orange trees, as well as moss and other shade plants.
Areas throughout the garden will be used for plant workshops and classes, performances, meetings, and healing programs (yoga, meditation, etc.) for office workers, to serve as a lasting, variable space. The stairs at both ends of the underground space will be remodeled into a stand-like design for the public to unwind or enjoy performances.
In addition, following the formation of the underground garden, the city will promote the recognition of new facilities as an “underground garden dependent on natural light” by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) through a monitoring process and gathering of data. Further review of the possibility for policy exportation, both at home and abroad, will also be conducted with the goal of establishing an underground R&D hub.