West Seoul Lake Park: Seoul Urban Renewal, Seoul, South Korea

Photographer: Hana Shin.


CTOPOS DESIGN(Project Lead);
JIAN Architects

Type of Area

Artificial lake
Ornamental water features or fountain

Land/water interaction


Built Environment Types

Low built
High green

Scale of Impact

District/ neighbourhood

Intervention Scale (Spatial)

Large site

Project Types

Public space regeneration
Habitat creation/restoration
Infrastructure regeneration

Urban/ Rural

Inner urban area

Visibility and Openness

Fully enclosed
Fully contained view

Embracing the Industrial Past

West Seoul Lake Park is an urban renewal project that was developed on an old and abandoned water treatment plant and industrial facility and reclaimed as a zone for public recreation and community park.

The park design initiated with collaboration between landscape architecture firm CTOPOS Design and architecture firm JIAN Architects for the Seoul Metropolitan City and was open to public in 2009. 

The project adopted the concept of an ecological park because the place was considered inappropriate for residential development due to the constant noise coming from the nearby international airport. The design embraces the old and dilapidated industrial fragments and its core design concepts are regeneration, ecology and communication.

The function of the new park is an “open cultural art space” that fosters the community interaction and diversifies areas of identity and urban culture. It integrates nature, culture, urbanity, and promotes education about urban nature and urban ecology. 

The park embodies environmental sensitivity and sustainability, which is also welcoming and environmentally friendly. As the central theme of the park is water purification the spatial organisation considered the horizontal and vertical arrangement of old water pipes that dominated the space.

The design highlights water by retaining the natural appearance of the old water treatment plant, lake views and recreational spaces and facilities located between the lake and the old water treatment building. Demolition of high walls opened up lake views and water jets reduce overhead aircraft noise, making the place popular.  

A central plaza was created by opening up old structures (with a few left in place to reflect the heritage), a square garden introduces a variety of scales and produces a harmonious effect.

The new water circulation and purification system replaces the existing one by creating a constant loop that feeds water into the series of landscape features and biotopes e.g. water purification garden, ecological waterway, aqua botanic garden and ecological water playground.

A large fountain illuminated by LED lights using renewable energy makes the place enjoyable at night.

This project is a good example of restoration of old city infrastructure as well as use of water and nature to successful create public space to improve community health and well-being. Its contribution to integration of urban renewal and landscaping is an exemplar.

Perception and Meaning

Sense of place

Health and Wellbeing

Place affordance
Sense of being away
Aesthetic experience

Interaction with Water

Tactile – Partly in water

The rating for the project show that the space is highly accessible and displays an excellent design quality. However, the project is scored relatively low for cultural heritage value, although it has been designed as a cultural melting point.

This ecological park offers flexible spaces for different activities and facilities, the project is rated very high for quality of nature, amount of seating, arrangement and accessibility to the facilities compared to other aspects.

The project is also highly rated for all aspects related to health and well-being. It scores well in terms of safety and security within the place.

The water connectedness is rated excellent for water visibility and access to water and land-water connectivity. The water safety issue was of less importance as the waterbody is shallow.

The project is rated high for informal sport activities and children play possibilities with water. However, the project also offers formal play facilities nearby. The site divides the space very well in terms of zoning.