This flexible study space in Jongno-gu, Seoul is designed by YounghanChung Architects in an attempt to “eliminate unnecessary spaces as much as possible”. Dubbed Tiny Forest, the two-story building was built for a retired university lecturer, who wanted to have a separate space from her main home – a space that would function as a study, and as an intimate space to host and entertain guests. The space is inspired by a sarangbang which is found in traditional Korean homes, where usually the man of the house hosts guests or indulges in hobbies.
Designer: YounghanChung Architects
“Spaces as a hobby space or study have gradually loosened in the frame of housing, and lost the power of their original function,” said founder Younghan Chung. “However, the desire to escape from the house and experience a space like a microcosm for oneself is desperate for all of us living in modern times…[so] this building was intended to create a small private room,” he said.
Tiny Forest was designed to be a dedicated study and relaxation space, a serene zone that is nestled away from the hustle and bustle of the main house. The building is made up of two stacked cubes, with the upper cube a little rotated, while both are supported by a steel frame, and clad in corrugated metal in the color white. The different floors of the space were designed as single and flexible spaces, each one amped with a bathroom and generous storage space. The spaces are defined by minimal fittings and fixings, creating a smooth and quaint area. “Conventional structural methods can trap the choreography of users with diverse ways of life within a strictly prescribed framework,” said Chung.
The ground floor features an exposed steel structure in the color white, as well as a massive shopfront-style window that provides views of the street, while also holding an external bench. The space above is wood-lined creating a warm and minimal ambiance, and is equipped with built-in desk space and bookshelves alongside one wall. An external spiral staircase connects both the two floors and is located at the rear of the building. While another staircase connects the western side of the upper level to a tranquil rooftop garden.