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XS House / UNI

  • 01:00 - 21 September, 2009
XS House / UNI
XS House / UNI

XS House / UNI XS House / UNI XS House / UNI XS House / UNI +16

  • Architects

  • Location

    Cambridge, MA, United States
  • Architects

    Chaewon Kim + Beat Schenk
  • Area

    102.2 sqm
  • Project Year


From the architect. 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 . <>
Read comments


Sherwood CPM · August 29, 2012

The XS House, Boxed living via @archdaily

mmmh... · January 16, 2012

3 rotated boxes | XS House / UNI | via @archdaily #architecture #interiordesign

@dan · June 10, 2011

XS House / UNI | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Smite · January 15, 2011

I was the superintendent for the company that built this house. It is one of my prouder moments. I actually did the framing and finish with a crw of 3 plus myself.

critique · July 18, 2010

I would prefer the darker one. Because the plywood boxes seems like container house (and not being this): too primitive concept.

Andreea Gulerez · June 24, 2010

Always fun to find built designs like my projects, this time my house

E · November 01, 2009

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

lester · September 24, 2009

still prefer the one in left on the first pic.

ARDI · September 24, 2009

semplice, pratico e geniale a mio avviso.

chungy · September 24, 2009

btw, Mr kim must love comic books..

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

chungy · September 24, 2009

way to go!!

nice job! simple and...

kim je won!

christopher · September 23, 2009

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

Eric · September 22, 2009

I hope no one rapes this project the way the S House has been...



sam · September 22, 2009

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

s · September 23, 2009 02:00 PM

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

C.P.T.L. · September 22, 2009

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 · September 23, 2009 06:51 AM

There are windows. Have a look the pictures.

Gosia Kung, AIA · September 22, 2009

How did they detail those skylights to prevent them from leaking?

richie · September 22, 2009

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.

richie · September 22, 2009

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

fran · September 22, 2009

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

Shropshire Architect · September 22, 2009

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

vladimir zotov · September 22, 2009

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

Vitsee · September 22, 2009

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

mukesh · September 22, 2009

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

s · September 23, 2009 06:47 AM

So do I

thomas foral · September 22, 2009

XS House / UNI | ArchDaily -

Ala · September 22, 2009

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.

richie · September 22, 2009

nice, nice and nice.

jr · September 22, 2009
manuel martin · September 22, 2009

XS House / UNI

Tim R · September 22, 2009

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

theChavacano · September 22, 2009

Simple, interesting, pretty and I wanna live there

alejandro · September 22, 2009

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.

Arkinauta · September 22, 2009

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

oscar falcón lara · September 21, 2009

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.

oded · September 21, 2009


Bronson · September 21, 2009

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

big c · September 22, 2009 12:45 PM

hell dardy ayy boys


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XS House