Text description provided by the architects. This building was designed to house YKH Associates Architects in Seoul, Korea to include at least 40 work-stations, a large conference room, two small conference rooms and two separate offices for two principals and a roof garden. The site is a small, long rectangular shaped area of 219 Square Meters with a level difference of 4 meters between a 4M-wide road and a 6M-wide road located in the tight residential area of Gangnam Gu, Seoul, Korea. The building code allowed FAR of 200% and maximum site coverage of 60%; there was an additional building code requiring a diagonal sun-light path on northern side for neighbors.
With a very limited funding available, we were trying to plan a maximum allowable area within the legal boundary; we chose a simple box format with a minimum number of openings to reduce the construction cost. Our aim was to build the most cost-efficient building with ‘landmark’ quality; rather than inserting a simple vertical stair, we chose a wraparound stair for fire escape as well as for our staffs to move efficiently. This exterior staircase connects the entire building and outer skin of the stair was clad with the same brick with a solid-void pattern to allow the air circulation. This method allowed a lesser maintenance cost by reducing the interior space as well as a tighter security control by floors.
In order for the building to have an ‘old & solemn presence’ despite its simple shape, we chose used-antique white bricks to clad the entire building including the staircase. Over 80,000 bricks were washed and ground from the factory and the white cement mortars with a thickness of 12mm and a depression of 10mm to bring out the natural look of the old bricks.
The B1 level conference room was transformed into a café open for public; this café is used as a large conference room as needed basis and the interior of café is designed to maximize the coffee roasting and serving area. The elevator connects the entire building, however, the B1 level entry utilizes the fingerprint security to allow only our employees.
We planted a 40cm-thick natural grass on the rooftop area to be used as a rest area for employees. To allow more ‘green’ and ‘daylighting’ entering into working space, bamboo trees were planted on the 4th level principal’s office and a sunken B1 level. The code-required 4 parking spaces were placed next to each entry of 1st and B1 level; this allowed minimal excavation thus reduced a considerable amount of construction cost.