Friday, November 27, 2009

Silgyecheon along Daehangno

Is Seoul city center turning into some kind of Venice ? After Baekseokdongcheon (the main source of Cheonggyecheon, soon to be restored), another stream is getting ready for rebirth, this time on the other side of Gyeongbokgung.

Alright... don't expect gondolas anytime soon : only cicadas can drown* in such streamlets basically tap-controlled by city officials. But they sing better and louder than most gondoliers.

The new waterline, Silgyecheon (실계천), entertains visitors almost all along Daehangno (the 1 km long stretch between Hyehwa-dong Rotary and Ihwa-dong Sagori), on the same side as Marronnier Park. Some of the "artworks" on display there were removed, maybe not enough for my taste**.

With its curves, stones, and vegetation, the streamlet adds a natural touch to an area already lifted up a few notches on the "well being scale" following last year's
salvation of Hyehwa-dong Rotary.

I know it's completely artificial but it could change the whole experience for pedestrians, especially during scorching summers. Temperatures around Cheonggyecheon dropped by 3 degrees celcius after renovation, but of course you cannot compare that pharaonic project with this cosmetic work.

Seoul Village 2009

* see "
Save Korean maemis"
** OK, not all of the sculptures are terrible, and some shall really shine in this new environment, but anybody who's walked that walk knows what I'm talking about. ie now the three multicolor ceramic turds in front of the University seem to have been dropped by some indelicate giant dog on LSD, and waiting for the streamlet to flush them down the drain.

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