XS House / UNI

  • 21 Sep 2009
  • Houses Selected Works


Architects: UNI / Chaewon Kim + Beat Schenk
Location: Cambridge, MA,
Constructed Area: 102.2 sqm
Project Year: 2006

1253113268-04-01-uni-xs-north 1253113363-11-01uni-xs-1st-floor-kitchen-dining 1253113344-10-c-uni-xs 1253113379-12-uni-xs-2nd-floor-livingroom

The final piece to the residential compound, XSmall, what the hell is this is, three rotated 16-by-22-foot boxes with four-corner-skylights, giving rooms natural light with minimum windows and maximum privacy, something that is all too important when there are four houses on just two lots, especially when the designs draw as much attention as they do.



The house is finished in marine plywood, usually used in boat-building. The grain is broad and pronounced, creating the appearance of a huge piece of furniture. Each floor of XS has a different look and feel (marble on the first floor, oak plywood on the second), but all are connected by a pared-down wooden staircase that threads through the space.

Cite: "XS House / UNI" 21 Sep 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=35482>
  • http://www.bronsonharrington.com Bronson

    A very interesting concept, but the overall result is one that I could definitely live with.

    • big c

      hell dardy ayy boys

  • oded


  • http://www.garalysoka.com oscar falcón lara

    I like the idea of twisting the blocks in order to create skylights, but further than that it becomes a very visual/sculptural piece, dynamic and quite interesting. The interior has a very homely quality to it, specially the kitchen area. Very nice project.

  • http://arkinauta.blogspot.com/ Arkinauta

    A funny video about this house and the interview with the architects:


  • alejandro

    It has cool livable interiors! But it lacks a good relationship between itself and its context. This is basically your average ugly neighborhood plus two weird contemporary architect boxes. I don´t agree in that they have a sculptural quality to them, they are both boring even if one is twisted and the other one is dark. Perhaps it´s the context fault, in such place architecture has a difficult almost impossible task to achieve.

  • theChavacano

    Simple, interesting, pretty and I wanna live there

  • Tim R

    You gotta love the first diagram on this page with the Jenga and Lego blocks!

  • jr
  • richie

    nice, nice and nice.

  • Ala

    The execution is really bad. The interior spaces are dry and dull (may be because of the bad photographs that has no view towards outside). Those terrible photographs render the interior as a prison cell. Suppose-Design-Office’s house is way much better; airy and delightful.

  • mukesh

    I like the idea of twisting the blocks in order to create skylights *****

    • s

      So do I

  • http://www.vitsee.wordpress.com Vitsee

    This is excellent – the wee patch of light that illuminates the corner is beauitiful.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/vlodco_zotov/sets/ vladimir zotov

    it’s looks like the books on the table. very nice.

  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/mbfranklin Shropshire Architect

    The impression of movement from the exterior and the staircase is great.

  • fran

    Details details …! We all know where the devil is !

  • richie

    i really like what happens whit the projection of the shadows of the street tree on the facade.

  • richie

    and from the inside , the projection of sun light trough this triangular skylight on the floor. I would like to see the travel of this triangle during the year according to the sun.

  • C.P.T.L.

    The blocks angled to create skylights is an excellent idea and I second all the other positive comments made. It is a unique and refreshing departure from the usual forms.

    But those walls upon walls with no windows! Difficulty about the sightlines and privacy do not make skylights admitting light a substitute for windows offering a view, whatever the view. There have been other solutions to that problem, for instance, situating long, narrow, wall-wide windows up high. To avoid that solution suggests adherence to the integrity of the design without compromise.

    Call it my bias if you will, but it seems a bit too prison-like. I can easily envision the occupant becoming stir-crazy during the long months of winter, or, just the same, cut off from those many Spring, Summer and Fall opportunities to throw open the windows.

    I’ve lived in such a situation: one is either completely ‘in’ or completely ‘out,’ with an inadequate sense of the outdoors while inside. It amounted to an enervating tension ‘built in’ to the structure.

    To be fair, they allude to necessary extremes in the description. It is a small place. There are many people who don’t give a fig for the outdoors. Cambridge Massachusetts is largely claustrophobic and noisy.

    But to not have a choice seems unfortunate, and to not be able to immediately see the state of the weather an acceptance of the site limitations without putting up enough of a fight.

    • s

      There are windows. Have a look the pictures.

  • sam

    just a copy of Habitat 67 in Montreal =/
    And dun even know how to copy a project without loosing the proposal

    • s

      why do you think this is the copy?
      I cannot see the point.
      Different projects, different concepts.

  • http://eyecandy-webcandy.blogspot.com/ Eric
  • christopher

    this stacking blocks sh*t has got to go people!

  • chungy

    way to go!!

    nice job! simple and… simple..lol

    kim je won!

  • chungy

    btw, Mr kim must love comic books..

    I see a lot of dragon ball and other comic books in the pics.

  • http://www.ardidesign.com ARDI

    semplice, pratico e geniale a mio avviso.

  • Pingback: XS House « Muuuz – Blog Architecture, Design, Tendances, Inspiration

  • lester

    still prefer the one in left on the first pic.

  • E

    would love to see some drawings, not just diagrams and photos.