SNU’s Roof-top Garden: A space to nature as an interaction space

With the change of people’s perception toward urban space, now, we cannot identify our living without mentioning green space. Since the opening of Central Park, by Olmsted, in 1857, nature has occupied more significant position in the city, and mostly the nature has taken a role of ‘interaction.’ As people’s needs to the nature are diverse, from a small garden to a huge neighborhood forestry, the type of urban nature and the ways of interaction are varied. The nature in the city provides people with green spaces, makes it easier for people to adapt to the environmental change, raises the quality of life, and becomes a model for the future city as well.

Especially, in recent years, roof-top garden is regarded as up-and-coming space for interactions. People can make their own natural space, enjoy the nature and can escape from the routine and complex urban life on the roof-top.

A roof-top garden on a building of Department of Landscape Architecture in Seoul National University (SNU) of Korea would be an interesting case of the interaction and it suggests different ways of how people interact with nature.

SNU is my previous graduate school before I came to UW so that I know well about the roof garden and have a fond memory of it. This space was designed by an emeritus faculty of the Department of Landscape Architecture, and was constructed to provide nature for students who want to take a rest away from their hectic studio works. As well as a shelter for students, this space is perceived as a diverse and interactive spot where the BBQ parties and Department’s small events are frequently held. Also, it is renowned as a date spot for student couples with its nature-friendly design.

Albeit the inconvenient accessibility as ‘a roof ‘itself, the reason students love the space is that they can enjoy great nature in the garden. Since SNU is adjacent to Kwanak Mountain, 2,073 feet high, and the building is located at one of the highest spots in the school, students in the garden can appreciate the scenery of both the school and the mountain. The notable thing is that this nature-friendly environment seamlessly allows students to voluntarily have environmental activities. In my case, I grew lettuce during a semester in the mini-farm of the garden with friends and ate it with Sam-Geup-SSal, the Korean pork-belly barbeque. Also, some others produced honey from beekeeping.

As I aforementioned, I think this SNU case is a notable example of the interactive natural space. The diverse and colorful activities in the garden could be adapted to other buildings and will encourage the exciting interactions between communities in the city. ‘Interaction with nature’


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