Beyond the Screen
by OBBA

| 9 comments
 

This apartment block in Seoul by South Korean designers OBBA has a semi-outdoor stairwell screened behind a section of open brickwork in the centre.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

The Beyond the Screen project by OBBA (Office for Beyond Boundaries Architecture) is located on a corner plot in the Naebalsan-dong neighbourhood of Seoul.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

The five-storey building comprises two volumes bridged by the stairwell, and its volume is sliced externally by regulations such as setback lines and natural light requirements.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

"The outer appearance is a single mass, however, it is actually two masses bridged by a semi-exterior central stairwell with a unique brick screen to the front and back, forming an H-shaped plan," said the architects.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

The upper four floors are divided into 14 residential units in four types, arranged on split levels so that each apartment is accessed directly from a stair landing.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

The brick screen allows each apartment to have natural ventilation on three sides.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

The pattern continues over the roof and covers selected apartment windows that would otherwise be severely overlooked by adjacent buildings.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

"This screen filters the view into the building from the front, while allowing for the right amount of natural light and ventilation, creating a far more pleasant atmosphere in and around a stairwell," the architects added.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

A roof garden at the top provides communal outdoor space tucked behind a parapet wall, while the ground floor comprises a parking place on one side and a cafe on the other.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

Seoul studio OBBA was founded in 2012 by Sojung Lee and Sangjoon Kwak, who previously worked at Dutch firm OMA and Korean firm Mass Studies.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

For more projects with interesting brickwork in South Korea, check out the perforated brickwork facade of a house, cafe and gallery building in Seoul or a house with a curved grey-brick facade that its architects compare to the body of a fish.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

See more architecture in South Korea »
See more architecture with unusual brickwork »

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

Photographs are by Kyungsub Shin.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

Here's some more information from OBBA:


Beyond the Screen

Beyond the Screen is a new type of residential complex, located in Naebalsan-dong, Seoul. The existing condition of this residential neighbourhood is no different from most other neighbourhoods, with multiplex housing having held the majority.

The aim of this project was to offer a compact spatial richness for living, while finding new architectural solutions in satisfying the specific needs of the user, client, as well as contributing to the improvement of the typically generic townscape so familiar in Korea.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

The building sits at a corner condition and is formed by a cutting and shaping of the volume by influences of the site regulations such as setback lines and natural light requirements.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

The outer appearance is a single mass, however, it is actually two masses bridged by a semi-exterior central stairwell with a unique brick screen to the front and back, forming an H-shaped plan, with a skipped floor structure from the east to west.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

This five-story building incorporates both residential and commercial functions – the first floor with a café and a piloti parking space, and from the second to fifth floors, four different unit types making up 14 different units in total.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

From a user’s perspective, the design took into consideration the following four points:

Courtyard

Upon entering the building, one encounters the courtyard with a semi-exterior stairwell that provides access to each of the 14 units, with a unique brick screen to the front and back. This screen filters the view into the building from the front, while allowing for the right amount of natural light and ventilation, creating a far more pleasant atmosphere in and around a stairwell.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

The sunlight that filters through the bricks makes for a lovely courtyard, allowing for an atmospheric transformation throughout the day, every day.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

Natural ventilation

By splitting the building into two volumes, it allows all of the units to have three open sides, maximising the natural cross-ventilation throughout.

Roof garden

The roof garden is open to the sky, with a parapet wall at full-floor height, creating a private communal space for the residents.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

Privacy

The brick screen walls, in their orderly staggered stacking construction, allows for privacy from the exterior gaze of the adjacent buildings into the semi-exterior, semi-public core of the building. This filter is applied, not only in the central core zone, but at specific moments where the building closely faces adjacent buildings. This adds to the privacy of each unit, while allowing for the residents of each unit the flexibility in ventilation, allowing each unit to breathe naturally.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

The design also takes into consideration the client’s point of view, with an attempt to satisfy cost efficiency and profitability through quality design:

Area

The skipped floor structure allows residents to enter their units directly from the stair landings, eliminating unnecessary, dead public hallway space, and maximizing the area for exclusive use.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA

Cost Efficiency

With a limited construction budget, but aiming to satisfy all of the essentials for living, the design of the building and the units focused on only the absolute necessities, without being superfluous with custom materials and built-in furniture, but with quality materials and fixtures that were economical.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA
Ground floor plan - click for larger image

Uniqueness

In order to provide the client with something new and different from the monotonous characteristics of the area, their needs were met through a quality of design that allows the building to stand apart within the existing streetscape of multi-family housing, both formally and in function, resulting in a new type of residential experience and use.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA
First to third floor plan - click for larger image

As designers, there was a need to find a new architectural solution for the unexpected and unplanned, such as the following:

Equipment

It is quite common for residential buildings to attach and expose air conditioning equipment on the exterior of the building. In order to keep to the intended design of all four elevations of the building, spaces were allotted for such equipment into the overall plan of the building, as well as an application of the brick screen system for ventilation and air circulation for HVAC.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA
Fourth floor plan - click for larger image

Ad-hoc expansion

To avoid illegal additions and extensions to the original design of the building in the future, which is a common practice in Korea, especially to buildings lacking a specific logic, there was a great focus in efficient spatial planning and design to allow for longevity in the initial design intentions and the spatial organization of the building.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA
Fourth floor mezzanine plan - click for larger image

Harmonized distinction

A unique design calls attention from its surrounding neighbours and residents in sparking an interest in a new design sensibility, and to form and awareness and appreciation for beautiful buildings and well designed spaces for living. Due to the changes of living patterns in the city, the number of single to double occupancy living units has grown. Rather than contribute to the increase of thoughtless and monotonous residential typology, the focus of Beyond the Screen was to provide new architectural design solutions to improve the quality of compact living through and enrichment of spatial qualities and functions.

Beyond the Screen by OBBA
Roof plan - click for larger image

Project: Beyond the Screen
Building name: NBS71510
Design period: 2012.06 - 2012.08
Construction period: 2012.09 - 2013.02

dezeen_Beyond the Screen by OBBA_27
Section diagram

Type: residential, commercial
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Site area: 215 square metres
Site coverage area: 128.08 square metres
Building-to-land ratio: 59.57% (max. 60%)
Total floor area: 427.24 square metres
Floor area ratio: 198.72% (max. 200%)
Building scope: 5F
Structure: RC
Finish: brick, Dryvit

dezeen_Beyond the Screen by OBBA_28
Section diagram

Architects: OBBA (Sojung Lee & Sangjoon Kwak)
Structural Engineer: TEO Structure
MEP Engineer: Wonwoo Engineering
Construction: YIINSIGAK

  • Alex

    On a practical note, whilst a lovely brick roof, is it not going to get incredibly grubby incredibly quickly? Surely any rain will just sit on the flat bricks or run down the facade. This doesn’t seem to be very well thought through.

    • Pedro

      The finish includes Dryvit, but I suppose it will unfortunately get grubby with time.

  • Christina

    Beautiful brickwork. Love the play of light.

  • dna500

    Great texture!

  • Justin

    Can anyone explain why the studio apartments don’t have a shower?

    • Floong

      Korean apartments (especially studio ones) sometimes don’t have a ‘stand up’ shower unit per se. Often you will bathe in your ‘open bathroom’ via a hose extension thingy whilst seated on a stool. Then, when the mood strikes, you will visit a communal bathhouse and have a good solid, wash, scrub and soak. Bliss and weekend relaxation for many Koreans. I lived over there for a while. My apartment never had a dedicated shower unit. Korean friends used to chuckle when I said “hey, there’s no shower”! Some Korean friends visiting me here (OS) have been known not to ‘shower’ in my shower, but outside of it, in the bathroom. I need to get a little wash stool!

  • Evka

    Where is shower in the studio apartment?

  • ryan

    I love it ! The light and shadow play is impressive.

  • Stephen

    Beautiful brickwork! I don’t think we’d get away with a roof like that in Britain with snow and rain ponding on top of bricks and mortar. Also, the lower floors must have some of the smallest flats I’ve have ever seen. It’s still nicely planned though and that’s presumably a cost related issue.