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Secret Garden

Uijeongbu, South Korea

Secret Garden

Uijeongbu, South Korea

  • Design Principal

    Alan Maskin

  • Principal

    Stephen Yamada-Heidner

Located on the open-air terrace of a 12-story department store, this active play area and lush garden is an oasis of native trees, plants and flowers for children and families in the city of Uijeongbu, South Korea. Uijeongbu, like many of Seoul’s satellite cities, can best be described as a concrete landscape with very little infrastructure devoted to culture, parks, and recreation. The garden thus serves as a much-needed oasis for the residents of Uijeongbu.

Some of the garden’s content was inspired by traditional Korean tapestries depicting a magical garden that contains several traditional symbols of longevity such as cranes, deer, mist, water, and pine trees. These elements, along with the inclusion of regional plants, were the direct result of extensive research into the local culture and site conditions.

The planning includes a series of secret discoveries for visitors to make: an art installation by Do-Ho Suh, a mysterious mist garden, a maze garden, a wading pool and several tree houses that visitors can climb and play inside. The garden offers both contemplative spaces and active spaces for children to explore, climb, splash and play while surrounded by fanciful bird and animal sculptures built from reclaimed lumber and found materials.

We were determined to make an engaging and unusual place for Korean children and families that would be unlike any other. Alan Maskin