Architecture and city development consist of an endless interaction between inspirations and creation. In this process, the surroundings and history of a site play a significant role in creating a connection between the design and the people using it. Of the many projects funded by Seoul City, Seoullo 7017 is one of the most successful examples. Yet, it appears to have several defects in terms of fully merging with its surroundings.
Located near Seoul Station, Seoullo 7017 serves as one of the most famous attractions in Seoul. Since its opening on May 20, 2017, over 15 million people have visited it. Seoullo 7017 gained its ideological reference from The High Line, a discarded railroad that was transformed into one of New York’s most beloved parks. It presents the beauty of nature in the middle of the city while serving as the main hub of the area, grouping a diverse range of amenities together in one place.
From its planning, Seoullo 7017 focused on increasing the functional aspect by housing numerous convenient facilities within a compact area. As a result, the place perfectly serves its purpose as a multifunctional facility. Moreover, it provides decorated boulevards and crossroads for visitors to walk along, allowing them to enjoy the scenery of the city and its surroundings. Also, the fact that it is located near Seoul Station, one of Seoul’s largest subway stations, provides easy accessibility for visiting tourists.
However, architecture is not just a matter of functions and physical results. It needs to meet the needs of the residents and help alleviate any inconvenience. Seoullo 7017 managed to achieve its functional task, but, the site does not appear to have fulfilled its architectural duties successfully.
Most of all, an architectural site should consider the flow of traffic. In particular, the site on which Seoullo 7017 was built was characterized by the presence of a large number of roads and streets connecting many of the areas around it. The goal of the Seoullo 7017 project was promising in that it aimed to get rid of the numerous outdated overpasses, but some of those roads should not have been destroyed. After the construction, merchants and workers from Namdaemun Market suffered from great financial losses as several roads connecting their potential customers to the market were eliminated.
In terms of the environment, Seoullo 7017 has failed to stick to its original plan. Seoullo 7017 was originally designed to be utilized as a garden, with the creation of many green areas. However, the area lacks green zones, failing to fully achieve its initial goal. The floors are made of cement, not providing any grass areas for the plants to grow. Several trees are planted on the roads, which block the pedestrian walkways. Thus, to fully harmonize with the site, more grass areas and gardens should be established.
Seoullo 7017 undoubtedly is one of the most innovative projects in Seoul over recent years. However, contrary to its innovative nature, it happens to have several critical defects that negatively affect the surroundings and its residents. Though the exterior may look beautiful, architectural and urban requirements dictate that the site itself needs more development. Therefore, additional alterations should be made in order for Seoullo 7017 to become a more successful tourist attraction.