MVRDV unveils plan to transform seoul's waterfront with 'the weaves'

MVRDV unveils plan to transform seoul's waterfront with 'the weaves'

MVRDV has won a competition to redesign seoul’s tancheon valley and waterfront with a network of pedestrian and bicycle paths, natural landscapes, and public amenities. commissioned by the government of seoul and planned for completion in 2024, the scheme — titled ‘the weaves’ — seeks to introduce a combination of nature and human activity to the urban realm. in announcing the winner of the competition, the jury described how the design ‘shows great balance between ecology and the creative program, and offers an outstanding strategy to provide urban event spaces and resting areas to citizens, encouraging many different target users to take advantage of the site.’

image © ATCHAIN (also main image)



located between seoul’s former olympic stadium in the jamsil district and the rapidly growing central business district in gangnam, the point where the tancheon river joins the han river is currently dominated by surface car parking and elevated highway structures. a kilometer-long stretch of the tancheon river will be completely transformed by MVRDV’s design, as well as a significant stretch of waterfront along the han river. the central concept of ‘the weaves’ is to intertwine three aspects of the landscape: natural ecosystems, access for pedestrians, and elements of public program where activities can take place.

image © ATCHAIN



‘seoul is taking amazing steps to transform grey and obsolete infrastructure into lively green and social spaces,’ says MVRDV founding partner winy maas. ‘the weaves is a design that introduces natural landscape combined with exceptional, varied access. it also responds to the local identity. jamsil is known for its history of silk production and the design recalls the tangled silk threads of its past in a unique and playful way. it becomes an intertwining poem where movement becomes landscape poetry.’

image © MVRDV



MVRDV, working alongside NOW architect and seoahn total landscape architecture, began the design by returning the river to a more naturalistic state — replacing hard landscaping with lush green riverbanks, and changing the river from a straight canal to a meandering stream. the design softens the banks of the river with native vegetation, including aquatic plants that further blur the boundary between land and water, as well as water retention pools, islands, and purification streams that all contribute to a healthy waterfront ecosystem.

image © MVRDV



the second part is the development of a network of winding interconnected paths that allow easy pedestrian access throughout the waterfront, creating opportunities for visitors to encounter the natural ecology in a variety of ways. this network of routes also introduces the third element of the design, the park’s public program. the paths overlap and intersect, split and recombine, twist and turn, and rise and fall to create plazas, viewing points, amphitheaters, cafés, and other amenities.

image © MVRDV/seoahn total landscape architecture



a highlight of the design is the pedestrian bridge connecting the gangnam district to the olympic park. a bundle of paths rise up from the river below to form a crossing that incorporates a viewing platform, a small tribune, and a media floor. this bridge leads to a path that cuts past the olympic stadium, curving around to eventually end at the ‘tree pier’, a diverging cluster of paths extending into the han river.

image © MVRDV/seoahn total landscape architecture



other notable public functions include: the ‘event dome’, a group of raised crossing paths that form a viewing structure and a semi-covered event space underneath; the family playground, where the path frays into many lines that form climbing structures, benches, and animal figures; and the seoul water path, a section of path that extends out over the water of the han river to spell the word ‘seoul’ in a looping script. construction is expected to begin in 2021, with completion planned for 2024.

image © MVRDV

image © MVRDV

image © MVRDV



project info:


name: the weaves
location: jamsil, seoul
year: 2019+
client: seoul metropolitan government
size and program: 630,000 sqm / park and infrastructure


architect: MVRDV
founding partner in charge: winy maas
partner/director: wenchian shi
design team: kyo suk lee, shengjie zhan, dongmin lee, gabriele piazzo, michele tavola
visualizations: antonio luca coco, luca piattelli, cinzia bussola, magda bykowska
images: © MVRDV, © ATCHAIN, © MVRDV/seoahn total landscape architecture
copyright: MVRDV 2018 – (winy maas, jacob van rijs, nathalie de vries)


partners —
co-architect: NOW architect (seoul, south korea)
landscape architect: seoahn total landscape architecture
structural engineer: saman corporation and hanmac engineering
lighting advisor: huel design

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