Winy Maas is the founder and chief architect of MVRDV, a global architecture and urban planning company known for projects such as the Netherlands Pavilion at the 2000 Hanover Expo and Grand Paris Plus Petit, which depicts the company’s vision of Paris in 2030.
Built 45 years ago, the Seoul Station Overpass has served Seoul citizens for almost half a century. However, due to its deteriorating condition, the Seoul Metropolitan Government decided to renew it, announcing the “Seoul Station 7017 Project” on January 29, 2015. “7017” is a term that incorporates several numerical characteristics of the overpass from three different perspectives: ① its construction in 1970 and expected rebirth in 2017; ② its service as a road for vehicular traffic from 1970 and eventual conversion to 17 pedestrian paths; and ③ its construction in 1970 as a 17-meter-high overpass.
▶ Seoul Station Overpass designed in the shape of a massive tree with lines of street lamps depicting its branches, naturally linking the 17 pedestrian paths
The prize-winning work depicts the Seoul Station Overpass as a massive tree in the skygarden, creating a library-like collection of local plants arranged according to their names in the Korean alphabet, from Toegye-ro to Jungnim-dong. Street lamps will line the overpass like tree branches, organically linking the 17 pedestrian pathways that the Seoul Metropolitan Government requested be built.
The futuristic and innovative characteristics of the prize-winning design received high praise, as its vision and strategy focuses on turning a concrete structure into a place of vitality and life, using nature as a medium. Moreover, the judges widely supported the design as it permits the extension of the green areas around Seoul Station and places great importance on the collaborative process of the renewal project, allowing various citizens and agents to be actively involved.
Considering the poor condition of the deteriorating overpass and the characteristics of the surrounding areas, the Seoul Metropolitan Government organized this international competition and invited seven architects and landscapers, from Korea and abroad, whose expertise lie in integrating architecture, landscaping, and structure, as well as the restoration of modern industrial heritage. The evaluation criteria focused on: ① the discovery and interpretation of the space; ② linkages with the surrounding areas; ③ preservation and restructuring of the overpass; and ④ related programs.
Second prize went to the design “Seoul-Yeok-Goga: Walkway for All” by Jo Seong-ryong, while third prize went to Jo Min-seok for his design “Continuous Landmark: Unified Hyper-Collage City.” Among the other competitors, Juan Herreros (Spain) submitted “Seoul Evergreen Terrace,” and Martin Rein-Cano (Germany) submitted “Skyway.” In addition, Chang Yung Ho (China) and Jin Yang-gyo (Korea) also participated in the competition.
The Seoul Metropolitan Government will outline the details of the prize-winning design through briefing sessions for local residents and meetings with experts in related fields. It also plans to negotiate details with Winy Maas regarding the scope of the design and sign a contract by the end of June 2015.
▶ Showcased at the lobby of City Hall from May 8 to June 1, design to be specified at a later date through briefing sessions for residents
The Seoul Metropolitan Government will showcase all seven designs for the Seoul Station Overpass, including the prize-winning work, at the lobby of City Hall from May 18 to June 1.
In addition, the designs will be exhibited at Gangnam Station, Seoul Station, Hongik University Station, and Gwanghwamun Square between May 20 and 27, as well as at Yongsan-gu Office and Mapo-gu Office between May 28 and June 17.
The designs will also be posted on the official website of the Seoul Metropolitan Government (http://www.seoul.go.kr) and the competition website (www.ss7017.org). The Seoul Metropolitan Government is planning to publish a booklet of all seven designs and distribute them to related interest groups, including the Seoul Metropolitan Council, Citizens’ Committee, community centers in 3 districts (Cheongpa-dong, Gongdeok-dong, Jungnim-dong, and Hoehyeon-dong), and the Namdaemun Merchants Association.
Winy Maas, MVRDV, the Netherlands
Market Hall in Rotterdam (2014), Presq’ilede Caen Redevelopment (2013), Glass Farm (2013), Hongqiao Airport Central Business District (2013), Maquinnext (2012), Book Mountain (2012), Grand Paris (2010), Ypenburg (2005), Silodam (2003), BjørvikaBarcode (2003), Villa VPRO (1997), WoZoCo Housing (1997)
|BjørvikaBarcode (2003)||Maquinnext(2012)||Market Hall in Rotterdam (2014)|
|Juan Herreros, Spain||Martin Rein-Cano, Germany|
|Jin Yang-gyo||Chang Yung Ho, China|
|Jo Seong-ryong||Jo Min-seok|