The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners

The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners

The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Exterior Photography, WindowsThe Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Interior Photography, Living Room, WindowsThe Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Interior Photography, Windows, FacadeThe Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Interior Photography, Windows, Cityscape, Facade+ 32

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The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Exterior Photography, Windows
© Choi Jinbo

A Narrow Alleyway that Leads to the Doorstep of My House - A narrow alleyway in the neighborhood of Seoul City leads to the “Alley House”. The Alley House creates no boundary between the streets and itself. The alleyway extends to the doorstep of every unit in the building. It is one building, but, at the same time, is a group of stacked individual houses linked by alley-like stairs. We tried to find wisdom in the alleyway to have five families and a small office in the small plot of land with 106 square meters, not even enough for a single-family.

The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Interior Photography, Windows, Facade
© Choi Jinbo

A House that Resembles the Old Days of the Neighborhood - The house resembles the old days of the neighborhood. The neighborhood is an old detached house area and has recently been released from the redeveloped area. Due to this change, many multi-family homes are being built and rapidly transform the neighborhood. The declined but once attractive harmonious neighborhood is turning into an unnatural and overly dense area like dentures not fit in a mouth with the maximum floor area ratio and number of units each owner desires.

The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Exterior Photography, Windows, Fence, Facade, Handrail
© Choi Jinbo
The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Image 22 of 32
Plan
The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Interior Photography, Windows, Facade
© Choi Jinbo
The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Image 15 of 32
Stairs Diagram

As multi-family homes built on small lands are ruining the scenery of the town, we felt that we needed to come up with ideas not to contribute to the frustrating situation. One idea was to remove the boundaries between the street and the house by placing the house as far from the street as possible. It was a method to adjust the proportion of width of the street and the height of the building. Moreover, we designed the stairway and the hallways parallel to the streets so that they are seen as stacked alleyways. By doing so, we wanted the house to resemble the harmonious cozy images of the old neighborhood linked by narrow alleyways.

The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Interior Photography, Living Room, Countertop, Sofa, Windows, Table, Chair, Sink
© Choi Jinbo
The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Image 23 of 32
Plan
The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Interior Photography, Windows, Facade
© Choi Jinbo

Creating a Gap with an Alleyway-like Stairs - Stairs create a small gap as well. The stairs extending from the ground to the third floor wraps around the three sides of the building. Three sides show different scenes of the neighborhood, which, we thought, is a small reward for climbing the stairs. The stairs and the hallways also serve to keep a comfortable distance from close buildings. It was a design strategy to create a small gap between the Alley House and the adjacent houses to alleviate uncomfortable gazes, allow the wind to pass through, and allow the residents to see the sky through the gap. Due to this decision, we were able to actively plan the windows for daylight and ventilation without installing any privacy screens legally mandatory in urban areas in South Korea. As a result, we were able to create small but pleasant interior space full of breeze and daylight.

The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Interior Photography, Windows, Cityscape, Facade
© Choi Jinbo
The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Image 26 of 32
Section
The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Windows, Cityscape, Facade
© Choi Jinbo

Small Joy with a Humble House - While designing the “Alley House”, we often hummed the song by Elton John, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. Our expectations in the project were like the story of the “Wizard of Oz”, in which Dorothy and her three companions walk the yellow brick road towards the Emerald City but soon realize everything they have wanted is within themselves, not in the Emerald City; Although it is a humble house without an elevator that takes a lot of toil, we hope that residents discover small joy in the house.

The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners - Interior Photography, Stairs, Facade, Windows
© Choi Jinbo

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Project location

Address:Seoul, South Korea

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "The Alley House / Todot Architects and Partners" 31 Aug 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/967651/the-alley-house-todot-architects-and-partners> ISSN 0719-8884
© Choi Jinbo

小巷之家 / Todot Architects and Partners

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