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Liberty Lounge by Simplex Architecture

The site is located in an alley, a few blocks away from Dosandae-ro a busy boulevard in Seoul’s Gangnam district. The area used to be a low-rise residential district in the past, but now rapidly transforming into a commercial district full of shops and restaurants. The existing building had a simple rectangular structure with a courtyard in the middle, using concrete blocks and blackened steel as a major finish material. The main interest in designing the building was to keep the existing materiality, yet to make enough alteration to accommodate the new program. The concrete block wall on the north was maintained in order to preserve the original materiality of the building, and the blackened steel was mainly used for the newly built walls.

The existing building was a two-story building, with 52.76% building-to- land ratio and 76.98% Floor Area Ratio. The client has requested to extend the building to a three-story building and maximize its building-to-land ratio. The building was extended by 401.16 m 2 to make 59.74% building-to-land ratio (max: 60%) and 118.97% Floor Area Ratio. Due to the height restriction at the north-east corner, the 3rd floor massing was skewed from the 2nd floor massing, creating a triangular balcony in between.

The main façade on the east is covered with a metal mesh curtain, rigid yet flexible material following the curvilinear pattern consisting of multiple semicircles. The metal mesh connecting the two mirrored patterns will create a transitional form. This skin produces a layer of diffusion in front of the solid wall, which needs to completely separate the interior space from outside. It suggests an ambiguous characteristic of the façade, which is diversified by the colorful LED lights installed at the bottom of the façade, emphasizing its curvilinear form during the night time.

The main entrance was relocated to the north side of the building, while the original east entrance was blocked by the metal mesh. However, people can vaguely see the old entrance and the stairs behind the metal mesh. The concrete stairs at the entrance extends up to the third level, keeping the materiality of the original stairs.

Photography by Kyungsub Shin, Young Kim

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