Return to my selection
18 february 2020

With its “The Weaves” design project, Seoul is crafting its new urban fabric

Keen to incorporate ecology and design at the heart of its urban fabric, the city of Seoul has initiated a vast plan to transform the banks of the Tancheon River. The aim is to restore nature to prime position in the city, without losing sight of the dynamism of human activity, which is constantly evolving in the metropolis.

Within the framework of a competition launched by the local government, the Dutch architecture and town planning agency MVRDV, which has been designing innovative global solutions in a host of countries for over 20 years*, was chosen to implement a major overhaul of the Tancheon Valley up to the Han River waterfront. 


This program, dubbed “The Weaves,” whose construction is set to begin in 2021 and reach completion in 2024, will be deployed over some 630,000 m2. It extends from the Jamsil district, which is home to the former Olympic stadium, to Gangnam business district, which has expanded at lightning pace over the past fifteen years.


It will be structured around the point where the Tancheon and Han rivers converge, an area of the South Korean capital known for its predominantly grey and concrete cityscape (due to its many car parks and elevated highways).


MVRDV is looking to recreate a healthy ecosystem in this new urban environment. The project will thus create a virtuous “liquid” boundary between land, the banks, and the aquatic environment, restoring the original sinuous path of the Tancheon River over one kilometer, as well as transforming a major section along the Han River**. The project will integrate a host of functional natural spaces into this new wetland environment: luxuriant vegetation, a few islands, streams, pools, and water retention basins. It will also incorporate intertwining pedestrian and cycle paths.


The municipal jury chose this project for its “outstanding” strategy that strives to provide citizens with areas dedicated to walking, resting and celebratory urban events. A judicious balance between ecological and creative aspects.


As MVRDV’s founderWiny Maasreminds us, “The Weaves” is also a project that echoes the local historic identity: in the Jamsil district, famous for its silk craftsmanship, this bold design “recalls the tangled silk threads of its past in a unique and playful way.” 


*In Seoul, MVRDV notably transformed a highway from the seventies into a botanicalbridgein 2017.

**This large-scale work will be carried out by MVRDV in collaboration with two Korean agencies, NOW Architects and Seoahn Total Landscape Architecture