Mapo Oil Reserve Base, which is adjacent to Maebongsan, Mapo-gu, is set to be transformed to be ‘Culture Depo Park” and scheduled to be opened in 2016. The old oil reserve base of 11,510㎡ used to contain 1.31 million barrels of oil in its five storage tanks, of which sizes ranged from 15 to 38 diameters and 15 meter in full height.
The event marks the first road opening event for pedestrians in 44 years since then President Park Jung-Hee and the first lady Yuk Yong-Soo walked up to the road for the tape-cutting event in 1970.
The opening event will continue for four hours on the road of about 1 km length and 10m width, starting from the pedestrian walk in front of Hoehyeon Station 5 and 6 gates, at the entrance of Namdaemun Market, and to the Malli-dong ramp. The exit directed toward Seosomun will not be included in the opening event due to its poor accessibility.
Various programs will greet citizens, but the highlight of the event will be the spectacular view offered from the site, which stretches about 450 m, from the Seoul Square Building to the West station. The view is second to none available in Seoul. The road is about 17m in height, about 5-floor building level, allowing viewers to see the skyscrapers in south, including the Seoul Square Building, wide Hangang-daero, and to Seoul Station including the old station building. From afar, Gwanak Mountain comes into a view.
In north, Namdaemun is facing right to the road, and when a viewer looks onto the Namdaemun-ro, Yeomcheong Bridge and wide railroad site, he might feel that he is in some other place than in Seoul. An -Mountain and Inwang Mountain, which are set in the back of the far Seosomun Park, complete the marvelous view.
Hwang Nahyun, the Korean CEO of the New York NHDM Architecture, and professor at Cornell University, also worked for seven years as a director-chief for New York High Line design. In her recent visit to the Seoul Station High Road, she said, “In the United States, there was a saying that Seoul Station High Road will be similar to the New York High Line. But now I am impressed to see that the structure and view of the high road are completely different. NY High Line is wide, low, and long in shape as it passes through buildings, and the view from the Line is often blocked, and its utility is largely undermined because of its poor sunshine hours. But the Seoul Station High Road is high, lean and short, offering spectacular view. In addition, Seoul’s high road has its social meaning to link the disconnected sections by the railroad and the lower side of the road has high potential of utility. All of which promises that the Seoul’s high road project will be completely different from the NY project.”
In the meantime, the view from the Malli-dong Ramp, which cuts across the West Station plaza, is also highly breathtaking. The West Station Transportation Plaza, the plaza with around 20,000 m2 in size, will be renovated along with the high road project. Many experts point that the shoring comings of narrow and short Seoul St. High Road could be compensated depending on how the West Station Transportation Plaza is regenerated.
The opening event will also allow citizens to experience wide variety of cultural networks through the high road.
The event section begins from Namdaemun Market and stretched to Namsan, Seoul City Wall and Sungnyemun. In the Malli-dong, citizens can walk around the Yakhyun Catholic Church, the first cathedral of Korea, Seosomun Park, which is set to be a sacred place for Catholics, and Sonkijung Park.
The Cheongpa-dong ramp, which will used as the entrance for the opening, is connected with West Station and Seogye-dong National Theater. The theater site used to be a place where troops of the national defense army were dispatched. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is in charge of the national renovation project to build “Gangbuk Arts Center” of two buildings of 15 floors, enhancing the connectivity.
The opening event is titled with “Seoul Station High Road, A First Debut: A Walk in the flowers”. Flowers, the main theme of the event, also signal a dress code. It reflects the city’s ambition to turn the gray asphalt road to the flower road, with people in flower pattern clothing, scarves or flowers in their hands. The event is co-hosted by SMG and ‘Seoul Station High Road Citizen Network”.
For those who did not have time to match the dress code, there will be a florist booth at the entrance, allowing them to make their own flower corsage or purchase one at an affordable price.
The main event is the Flower-path Parade. From 12:30, the three parades team, including Noridan, Ddandara Dance Hall, Put Your Hands-Up, and seven street performance teams will perform, marching down the 30-minute parade. Even after the parade ends, the street performance team will boost up the event at the corners of the high road.
In the ‘High Road Walk with Story’ program, local experts who are knowledgeable in the history of the alleys and Seoul streets will serve as a day-instructor. They will provide various interpretation and stories about the history, culture and memories around Seoul Station and the high road. Those who want to participate in the program can either register in advance or on the site.
“Hi,^^ High Road” is the name of program that exhibits the pictures of the old high road along with Promenade Plantee of Paris and New York High Line. The asphalt ground in front of the exhibition will be turn to a black board, on which citizens can draw various shapes of flowers with a chalk. “Flower-path Market Place” is an art market themed with flowers. Florists at the entrance will offer various handmade products with flowers for sale.
Oh Hae-Young, the director of Green Urban Bureau, said, “The Seoul Station High Road Opening event will be the one and only chance for us to let citizens walk around the area and witness its potential to be regenerated regardless of where they stand on the regeneration debate. Jungnim-dong, Malli-dong, and Seogye-dong areas, which used to be cut for 114 years by the rail road, have not much benefit from the high road for its 44 years of the usage. This implies that one needs to think deeply, from the very the site, about the option to use the road as a green way.”