LocationSeoul, South Korea
Architect in ChargeYoung Lim + Sun Kim
Text description provided by the architects. The building, "Hamchaewon" is located in a typical small block of Seoul around high-rise apartment buildings, multiplex houses, and low-rise office buildings. It is a five story building which is composed of residential and commercial programs together. The basement and 1st floors are to be rent for commercial use. On the 4th and 5th floor are offices for Plastic & People which is the owner of the property. Between these floors are inserted the six fully-furnished studio apartments.
The building is functionally a building for rent, however it is a new company building for the Plastics and People. “Plastics & People", the client of this commission is a small enterprise which produces plastic pigment. Hamchaewon, the name of the building means a house to be filled with colors. Their main colors to make are black and white. That is the reason why the facade and interior space mostly show achromatic. But, the colorful accent walls in the lobby and CEO office filled with small color grains create welcoming atmosphere. The cladding of the main facade is the dark grey panels which look very clean and calm to represent brand image of Plastic & People.
Even though total area of the building is only 467 sqm, it had to pass through several official reviews by the local governmental divisions. Its volume and shape are seriously limited by the building code such as setback regulation, diagonal plane control by street width, and sky exposure plane control because it's right on the corner of very narrow streets. But the regulation became a design motive rather than limitation. The shape of the building is nicely carved by the oblique line limitation.
The building is largely composed of three different programs with respective entrances and stairs. The entrance for the Plastics & People is on the side of main street, which connects a 2-story opened lobby with an independent elevator. In the offices of Plastics & People is a void space through the 4th and 5th floors, which enables the rooms on the 5th floor open to the south. The inner court is enveloped by curtain walls which are oppositely tilted to avoid interruption from afternoon direct sunlight and plain appearance from the outside. The 6-studio apartments also have a separate entrance on the opposite side of the main entrance. They are intentionally designed to connect to the stair of Plastic & People on the third floor so that Plastic & People can be expanded if it needs more rooms. The third entrance is for the basement rental office. The terraces are on the every floors and the roof garden is on the top for refreshment.
Each studio is only 18 sqm, however it has its own bathroom and kitchen. It is divided two parts, bed room and house work space. The bed is not on the sight when one opens the entrance door. It allows the resident to have private space. The interior space is finished without any extra materials. The structure becomes finishing material as it is. The concrete blocks with transparent coating are the walls between the studios. The exposed concrete is revealed on the ceiling. The residents would have more space in the room, enjoying genuine property of materials.