Heatherwick Studio Wins Competition to Redesign Seoul’s Nodeul Island

A proposal envisions green spaces and a skywalk through the island.

Design
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Heatherwick Studio has been selected in a competition to ideate a redesign of Seoul’s Nodeul Island. The artificial island was originally created a century ago to support a new pedestrian bridge across the Han River. Five years ago, the island opened with eateries, a music venue and several green spaces.

Despite recent work, most of the island is still uninhabited, leading to the Korean government hosting a competition to field design proposals. Heatherwick’s project is called Soundscape, inspired by the patterns of soundwaves, and envisions different spaces situated throughout different levels to engage visitors, from venues to art installations.

While the island already contains some artificial greenery, the studio plans to introduce a biodiverse landscape that changes with the seasons, including a beach open to the public. The artificial greenery won’t be removed but rather integrated into the natural plants.

Visitors will be able to explore the space through a skywalk formed out of floating islets.

“Nodeul Island is an amazing excuse to escape and embrace the city of Seoul,” Thomas Heatherwick said. “In this hyper-digital time, when many people feel an increasing sense of loneliness and isolation, we want to make a hyper-physical place that connects Seoulites with nature, with culture, and with each other.”

“A landscape that bends and folds like soundwaves will combine with a new nature-rich waterfront and give everyone a place to discover and express the culture of their city.”

The studio has already begun work with the government and plans to open Nodeul Island to the public in 2027.

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