Every building has a rooftop, at the very least to keep the rain out. While in some parts of the world the rooftop is considered an important part of the home, that hasn’t been the case traditionally here in Korea. Rooftops were once seen as a discarded space, but that reputation is changing. Here’s a look at some impressive rooftop transformations.
On the rooftop of a university building in Seoul, it's very green from the entrance. A large garden comes into view which the school has opened to local residents. Four years ago, 42 percent of the building's rooftop, measuring some 840 square meters, was parceled out to 25 households.
[Soundbite] Prof. Han Moo-yeong (Seoul Nat'l University) : "The garden is open to the public so they can come out on the weekends and have a good time. We are creating a rooftop community."
The rooftop sale was even mentioned in a TV program in 2015 which drew further attention. Competition was high among the locals wanting to buy a parcel of the rooftop garden. That was years ago. Now families owning a portion of the garden are busy planting and gardening. It's an unfamiliar and unique experience especially for urban children. Sharing the rooftop with locals has transformed it into a lush green space brimming with vitality. It's comparable to a real rural village. The rooftop has become a priceless space for urban farmers.
[Soundbite] Jang Yoo-jin (Seoul Resident) : "If you don't think about the rooftop location, it is really just a field. It's a novel experience to feel the soil and grow products."
Let's turn to another amazing rooftop transformation in the heart of Seoul. Here, it's a cafe, a rooftop cafe. Feeling the spring breeze, visitors take in the stunning views. Even Gyeongbok-gung Palace is seen at a glance.
[Soundbite] Park Jin-soo (Cafe Owner) : "We revamped the rooftop to open a cafe as a place where people fatigued by daily life can come, rest and heal."
Taking pictures is an absolute must at the rooftop cafe thanks to the view found nowhere else. Any shot against any background is like an art piece. Customers have a great time, made all the more special being on a rooftop. They love the concept of the creative venue.
[Soundbite] Song Hyeon-jin (Customer) : "The weather is so nice. Having coffee in the spring breeze, I really feel as being healed."
The sun has set and people begin to bring up loads of goods. At night, the cafe gives way to a barbecue party.
[Soundbite] Kim Jeong-hyeon (Store Owner) : "I used to love camping but heading out far was a burden because of the hassle of preparations. I opened this place thinking it would be nice to have somewhere near to enjoy the camping experience."
Creating a camping atmosphere is easy if you have the necessary items. And of course barbecue is central to the whole camping experience.
[Soundbite] "Good job today. Enjoy the meal."
The best part about rooftops is that they are found everywhere.
[Soundbite] Jeong Byeong-eun (Namyangju, Gyeonggi-do Prov. Resident) : "After working in the office daily, it's wonderful to hang out with coworkers on a rooftop. I feel we're out in the mountains and close to heaven. It's so refreshing."
They are no longer wasted, discarded space. Rooftops are transforming into vivacious, lively spaces. Join the experience!