An apartment, community space and shop are accommodated in this skinny building squeezed onto a narrow plot in the South Korean city of Busan by local office JMY Architects (+ slideshow).
The site for the building in Busan's Daecheong-dong district measures just five metres wide by 12 metres deep, so JMY Architects chose to combine the various functions by stacking them vertically.
By uniting a three-storey apartment with a commercial gallery space used by the owner, the building aims to demonstrate the potential for restricted urban sites to merge accommodation with retail and leisure activities.
"The project promotes space as a medium for urban life, where life expands toward the city and city life merges into one building," said the architects in a statement.
"It introduces a new possibility for small-scale housing and the expandability of human life as an alternative method for suburban revitalisation, rather than large-scale development projects such as new town developments."
A key challenge was to incorporate a mixed-use program while meeting regulations governing the need for appropriate distance from neighbouring buildings, as well as the requirement for a direct evacuation route.
Circulation issues are resolved by positioning a staircase at the rear of the building. The stairs are enclosed by concrete walls interrupted by openings that contain metal mesh panels.
The mesh surfaces allow light and air to reach the stairwell, which is just a few inches away from adjacent buildings on three sides.
On the ground floor, a full-height window facing the street displays the interior of the showroom space.
The entrance to the showroom is set back from the pavement below a cantilevered corner of the building.
The first floor accommodates an open-plan space that can be used by the local community. The majority of its glazed end wall is treated with a frosted finish to restrict visibility into the room from the street.
The apartment is located on the upper levels, with the master bedroom suite and small lounge on the third floor; a kitchen, dining and lounge area on the fourth floor; and a guest bedroom at the top.
Both the master bedroom and main living space culminate in glass surfaces, which incorporate doors that open onto sheltered balconies set back from the street-facing elevation.
A staircase connecting the different levels follows the boundary wall and is screened from view by frosted glazing.
A double-height void provides a visual link between the top two floors and enables the glazed end wall to extend upwards and provide better views of the sky.
The same precast concrete panels used in the stairwell are applied throughout the interior and extend onto the balconies.
Photography is by Joonhwan Yoon.
Architects: JMY Architects
Project architect: Jaemin Yoon
Design team: Hyukhyu Shin, Kwangjae Ryu, Minji Kim, Eunji Choi, Yeonjung Lee, Seongmin Lee, Jinsoo Kim
Collaborators: MOA Structure, HL Consulting Engineers, Wookdongbangjae
Construction: CS Construction
Interior construction: Site people
Graphic design: Social Graphics