Chinese Boxes by thescape

Chinese Boxes
Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi

‘Chinese boxes’ is the first built project of ‘thescape’, an architectural design office based in Seoul, South Korea.

Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi

It is a very small apartment house, 237.34sqm of gross floor area, with four units and one underground studio.

Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi

The site is located in near the Gangnam-Streets, one of the most vibrant areas in Seoul, where land price is extremely high.

Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi

And the site is very small. So the overall building silhouette had to be followed from the maximum 3-dimensional buildable area defined by some building regulations.

Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi

The architect found the silhouette looks like ‘Chinese boxes’; a simple paper box for take-out food. Moreover, according to the dictionary, ‘Chinese Boxes’ has another meaning; a box in a box.

Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi

The description ‘a box in a box’ eventually reveals the unit organization. Each of the units actually has a box (a bathroom) in it.

Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi

It was an important design issue, to treat a bathroom not as a two-dimensionally separated room, but as a solid volume occupying the space of the unit. So the name-Chinese boxes-is rationalized.

Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi

The composition of the building is very simple. A central staircase ties two units. The building has two floors above ground, so there are four units in the building.

Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi

But it is not easy to notice the building formation from the outside, without explanation. The architect wanted to conceal conventional codes of the apartment, such as a balcony, a big window for bedroom, a small window for bathroom, etc.

Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi

As a result, the building appears as one simple piece of sculpture, rather than an ordinary-neighborhood-apartment. Courtesy by KyungHwan Chun

Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi

Location: Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Architects: thescape
Architect In Charge: KyungHwan Chun (jaeminahyo.com)
Collaborators: SeungYoun Cho, JinHo Kim, SeungJun Kim
Structural Engineering: KwangLim Structural Engineering
Mechanical Engineering: HanBaek F&C
Electronic Engineering: ChunIl E&C
Area: 237.0 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: SungKyung Choi

Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi
Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi
Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi
Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi
Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi
Chinese Boxes
Photo © SungKyung Choi

Chinese Boxes Chinese Boxes Chinese Boxes Chinese Boxes Chinese Boxes

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