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Chinese Boxes / thescape

  • 01:00 - 28 August, 2014
Chinese Boxes / thescape
Chinese Boxes  / thescape, © SungKyung Choi
© SungKyung Choi

© SungKyung Choi © SungKyung Choi © SungKyung Choi © SungKyung Choi + 39

  • Architects

  • Location

    Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
  • Category

  • Architect in Charge

    KyungHwan Chun (
  • Area

    237.0 sqm
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

  • Collaborators

    SeungYoun Cho, JinHo Kim, SeungJun Kim
  • Structural Engineering

    KwangLim Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

    HanBaek F&C
  • Electronic Engineering

    ChunIl E&C
  • More Specs Less Specs
© SungKyung Choi
© SungKyung Choi

‘Chinese boxes’ is the first built project of ‘thescape’, an architectural design office based in Seoul, South Korea. It is a very small apartment house, 237.34sqm of gross floor area, with four units and one underground studio.

© SungKyung Choi
© 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. 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.

Diagram 8
Diagram 8
Section 4
Section 4

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. The description ‘a box in a box’ eventually reveals the unit organization.

© SungKyung Choi
© SungKyung Choi

Each of the units actually has a box (a bathroom) in it. 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.

© SungKyung Choi
© 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. But it is not easy to notice the building formation from 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. As a result, the building appears as one simple piece of sculpture, rather than an ordinary-neighborhood-apartment.

© SungKyung Choi
© SungKyung Choi

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Project location

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Chinese Boxes / thescape" 28 Aug 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
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