See What Thomas Heatherwick Plans To Do With An Empty Island In Seoul’s Han River

UK architecture practice Heatherwick Studio has unveiled its plans to transform the uninhabited Nodeul Island in Seoul into a public park called Soundscape.

Situated on the Han River in South Korea, Soundscape will serve as a public space for musical performances and art-based events once complete in 2027.

Heatherwick Studio won an international competition to design it with its proposal for a trail of platforms raised to varying heights, referencing the city’s mountainous terrain and the patterns of sound waves while evoking “floating islets”.

Nodeul Island park at night by Heatherwick Studio
Heatherwick Studio will transform an island in Seoul into a public park

“I am thrilled that Soundscape has been chosen by the people of Seoul,” said studio founder Thomas Heatherwick.

“In this hyper-digital age, we’ve had so many amazing innovations in the way people live but there has also been an increasing sense of loneliness and isolation,” he added.

“We want to make a hyper-physical place that reconnects Seoulites with nature, culture and, most importantly, with each other.”

Rendered view of Soundscape park proposal in Seoul
The proposal is informed by mountains and sound waves

At ground level, Soundscape will house an arts centre and a public beach, while extensive planting will be introduced along the existing riverbanks and landscape.

A trail of weaving walkways will rise from the lower level and connect the series of curved, elevated platforms, forming a 1.2-kilometre-long skywalk. They will be wrapped in a reflective metal cladding and raised on large columns.

“This trail will be formed of a series of small, floating islets, held in the air, providing resting spaces with spectacular views across the island and the river back to Seoul,” the studio said.

Spiral staircases will wrap around structural columns to provide direct access between the ground floor and raised platforms and an events podium will be held at the structure’s highest point.

Walkways at Nodeul Island park proposal by Heatherwick Studio
It will be formed of “floating islets” wrapped with metal cladding

“Nodeul Island will give everyone an amazing excuse to escape and embrace the city,” Heatherwick said.

“A landscape that bends and folds like soundwaves will combine with a new nature-rich waterfront and offer people a place to discover and express the culture of Seoul,” he added.

Soundscape will be Heatherwick Studio’s first project in South Korea to go into construction. It will follow the studio’s completion of Little Island, a park and outdoor theatre on a raised platform over the Hudson River in New York.

Elsewhere, the studio is planning to turn the BT Tower in London into a hotel and designing its first South American building that will have a basketry-informed facade.

The visualisations are by MIR.

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