Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Rest Hole in the University of Seoul, South Korea by UTAA
November 10th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: UTAA
The first floor of the dormitory in University of Seoul was originally an empty parking lot. An area enclosed by columns that supported the main office of the building, people would use the area only for smoking and storing bikes. The place was far too dark and inefficient and further desperately needed to be remodeled. In collaboration, the architectural students of the University of Seoul (Lee Sang-myeong, Ha Ki-seong, Baek Jong-ho) and UTAA designed a solution that would become much more than a simple rest area.
The project was started in efforts to replace an empty area with a newly designed rest ‘hole’ that would serve as a place for people to enjoy themselves in relaxation. Prior to the renovation, the large columns that supported the structure would induce an unpleasant ‘heavy’ feeling to the structure; to lessen this, wooden panels were arranged to cover the columns and further improve the atmosphere by implementing a more fluid and spacious design. The spacing of the panels allows for light, sound, and air to smoothly pass and reinforces the concept of flexibility.
Wood was an ideal material for its adaptability. As it was the first time to create curved panels, initially, the plan was to use 2×4 sheets of wood to form a rigid curve and then would be covered with plywood to create a curved shape. This method was discarded for its inefficiency and instead changed the material to a engineered wood called glulam that would allow for much more flexibility and planned efficiency.
The next problem was curving the glulam. We could not find a construction company or interior design firm that had experience in dealing with the material. Near the end of our search, we found a furniture designer named Shin Jung-hoon that had experience in using CNC Routers and could properly understand the intentions of the architect. About 500 panels of glulam were used and each with its own unique size and shape. Using connectors, the panels were secured so that there would be no loose ends.
In the rest area, there are 35mm thick boards of larch wood glulam that are spaced out 450mm apart. This method allows for the sections to be parts of the ceiling to then become part of a wall, a fence, or a window. Some of the panels are spaced out 90mm apart and form areas that resemble benches – these areas can be used to sit or lay down with minimal discomfort.
From every angle and side, you can see a completely different view of the interior. The interior curves in and out so that there are areas that are ideal for standing and walking around, while the lower enclosed areas are meant for sitting down and relaxing.
In the winter, the interior acts as a warm shelter; in the summer, the area induces the feeling of siting inside a large tree as you gaze out to the exterior environment. The area serves its planned purpose as a pleasant area to spend some time relaxing.