UTAA Extends South Korean Children’s Centre With “a House Within A House”

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A residence-shaped extension protrudes from the side of this children’s centre by Seoul studio UTAA, offering a playful space for studying that faces out onto a backyard .

Pinocchio by UTAA

A instructor asked UTAA to refurbish and extend an old building to generate the Pinocchio children’s centre – a area for reading and educational routines which can also host performances and exhibitions.

Pinocchio by UTAA

The constructing is in a mountainous setting near the city of Pocheon, two hours north of Seoul, and was formerly utilised as an artist’s residence and studio but had been deserted for two years ahead of work commenced.

Pinocchio by UTAA

“The client had previously named this developing Pinocchio, so we started out to envision a room that is suggestive of that story,” the architects told Dezeen.


Associated story: Soichi Yamasaki’s Japanese nursery features home-shaped windows and faceted ceilings


“Taking the story of Pinocchio trapped in the stomach of a whale, we proposed the thought of a property inside a home.”

Pinocchio by UTAA

The exact same concept has been employed by numerous architects who needed to develop smaller sized spaces inside more substantial interiors, effectively building homes inside of homes.

To emphasise this idea and create a closer connection with the outdoors, UTAA extended the property-shaped framework beyond the building’s side facade to create a reading region.

Pinocchio by UTAA

The construction, known as the book cafe, is lined with larch plywood to make it feel like a cosy cabin. A deep window ledge was also added to provide a a lot more enclosed sitting room for one.

Pinocchio by UTAA

“The guide cafe is a room exactly where the kids can stand, lie down or sit, and feel comfy and closer to books,” mentioned the architects. “The gabled wooden structure gets their shelter.”

Pinocchio by UTAA

The ground floor also has a massive room for exhibitions, while the gabled 1st floor has two smaller sized property-shaped structures in which young children can perform or stage performances.

“The [ground] floor is 4.6 metres large, so we divided it up vertically with attic-like structures,” explained the architects.

Pinocchio by UTAA

Both structures attribute measures foremost up to mezzanine levels with windows for the youngsters to peek out of. 1 also has a blackboard for the youngsters to scribble on.

Pinocchio by UTAA

“A area has an effect on how young children feel and act, so we attempted to design spaces that fit with their scale,” mentioned the architects.

“Instead of attracting their curiosity with decorative or visual elements, we have encouraged the young children to interact with the interior and exterior of the building and investigate its different locations.”

Pinocchio by UTAA

Some locations within have been enlivened with lime-green paint, which was selected as a reference to the surrounding forest.

Pinocchio by UTAA

The architects also renovated a square-shaped annex constructing subsequent to the main constructing, which homes an workplace and a rest spot for mother and father.

Pinocchio by UTAA

“This space is created to stimulate the imagination of children – they can play, read a book, and have fun roaming about the different spaces,” mentioned UTAA.

“A single of the nicest issues the client has informed us given that the perform was finished is that the kids request to keep even longer when their dad and mom come to acquire them.”

Pinocchio by UTAA

The venture was completed in 2012. It was recently featured as component of a London exhibition on Korean architecture, alongside a schoolhouse with a serrated profile and a memorial centre that pays tribute to Korean independence activist Ahn Jung-geun.

Photography is by Jin Hyo-suk.


Project credits:

Architect in charge: Kim Chang Gyun
Layout crew: Kim Ye Seul, Noh Search engine optimization Younger

Pinocchio-by-UTAA-House_dezeen_1Ground floor plan Pinocchio-by-UTAA-House_dezeen_2First floor program Dezeen

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