2016 P/A Award Winner
The 39-story Project R6 is located along the eastern edge of the Yongsan International Business District in central Seoul, South Korea, and is part of a master plan that calls for 22 multifunctional towers. Its architects describe the program as a transient “urban boutique residence” with a mix of 40-, 50-, and 60-square-meter (430-, 540-, and 650-square-foot) units and associated amenities. The designers base their configuration of the prescribed mix of studio sizes on a classic courtyard plan, with large chunks of structure pulled in and pushed out from a narrow connecting framework to create a distinctive zipper-like form.
A concrete-encased megabrace diagrid frame encircles the 1.24 million-square-foot building’s courtyard and provides the primary support for the floor slabs. Two- to eight-story-tall blocks of floors cantilever from the east and west ends of the tower, creating a stretched form with a dramatic profile. Single-loaded balcony corridors face the interior courtyard, giving every apartment cross-ventilation
and daylight on at least two sides.
Each unit is a wooden shell bookended by a bathroom and a kitchen, with a movable wall in between that defines living and dining spaces, allowing use to determine the amount of space allocated to each function over the course of the day. The wall itself contains many apartment necessities, including a Murphy bed, nightstands, couch, TV mount, task lights, and storage. Floor-to-ceiling, high-performance insulated glazing at the exterior and corridor walls open each small unit’s spatial sensibility to include the courtyard and the city beyond, with privacy available through the deployment of blackout and roller shades.
A sense of community, often limited to activities at the base of an apartment building, is engendered through the courtyard, open corridors, roof terraces, and a series of conversation/reading/play pods that encourage casual encounters in the structure. —Edward Keegan, AIA
Client/Owner: Dreamhub Project Financing Vehicle Co.
Architect: REX Architecture, New York . Joshua Prince-Ramus, AIA (principal-in-charge); Roberto Otero (project leader); Tiago Barros, Adam Chizmar, Danny Duong, Luis Gil, Gabriel Jewell-Vitale, Seok Hun Kim, Armen Menendian, Romea Muryń, Se Yoon Park, Lena Reeh Rasmussen, Yuan Tiauriman (team)
Executive Architect: Mooyoung Architects and Engineers
M/E Engineer: BuroHappold Engineering
Structural Engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Landscape Architect: Scape
Façade Consultant: Front
Lighting Designer: Tillotson Design Associates
Audiovisuals: Shen Milsom & Wilke
Vertical Transportation: Barker Mohandas
Acoustics: Level Acoustics
Size: 1.24 million gross square feet (115,500 square meters)
Project DescriptionYIBD “Project R6” is an urban boutique residence for short-term business people, young urban professionals, and foreign residents. Due to the transience of its target users and the short durations during which they are home, R6’s unit sizes are small, including 40 m2, 50 m2, and 60 m2 residences, with the majority being 40 m2.
To meet the trends of its users and compensate for its small unit size, R6 must engender a strong sense of community and its residences must be highly attractive, providing generous views, daylight, and cross-ventilation. Maximizing daylight and cross-ventilation are also paramount to providing a highly sustainable residence.
In a standard housing tower, 40 m2 to 60 m2 units would create poorly dimensioned and oppressive residences, offering constrained views, little daylight, and poor ventilation, and community would be limited to activities at the tower’s base.
By pulling layers of the typical housing tower in opposing directions, the small units maintain their size, but are stretched into favorable proportions that provide views and daylight from both sides, excellent cross-ventilation, and a strong sense of community through the creation of a central courtyard, roof terraces, and conversation/reading/play pods.
The stretched layers are strategically positioned to guarantee unobstructed daylight into all units, and to create adequate continuity of the building’s primary structure: a concrete-encased steel mega-brace that encircles the courtyard.
The mega-brace supports a shelf-like matrix of walls and floor slabs that define each unit. Into each shelf is inserted a wooden shell containing a bathroom on one side and a kitchen on the other. A movable wall—using standard compact shelving technology—shifts within the unit to define a bedroom (adjacent to the bathroom) or a living room (adjacent to the kitchen). The wall includes a bed, nightstands, couch, television mount, task lights, and storage.
A high-performance façade—composed of frameless IGUs—emphasizes the remarkable exterior views while interior black-out and shade roller blinds control sunlight and glare.