FOREST HOUSE, INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA
When JYA-rchitects in Seoul was asked to come up
with a unique idea for a low-end restaurant in an
uncompromising urban setting, its response was
nothing if not original.
Diners at the Forest House in the Cheongcheon-dong
area of Incheon city can, with a little imagination,
fancy themselves caressed by breezes and touched by
sunlight passing through a rippling woodland canopy.
This is because they are sitting behind a façade of
fluttering green shutters designed to mimic the
trembling leaves of a tree.
Transforming the front of what is essentially a
utilitarian box into a foliage simulation is quite a
feat – all the more so given that the architects had
to follow strict planning laws and a tight budget.
The cuboid structure was dictated by regulations,
which demanded a flat frontage, and by the need to
maximise the interior space, but the façade is a joyous
amalgamation of fun and functionality.
Practical architecture that connects with the lives
and emotions of those who inhabit it is very much
the raison d’être of JYA-rchitects. The studio is the
creation of three thirty-something architects who all
graduated from Hanyang University of Seoul. Formed
in 2012, the practice roots its designs in ‘architectural
basics’, by which it means ‘finding simple and practical
solutions for given conditions, rather than pursuing
architecture requiring grandiose and elaborate
explanations for understanding’.
JYA-rchitects seeks to create ‘architecture with space
that can be easily experienced in everyday living’. So
far, its project portfolio – small-scale but interesting –
lives up to the promise.
According to the studio, it was the clients that came
up with the idea of a ‘forest house in the city’. One
wonders if they expected to be taken quite so literally.
‘We first simplified the building’s image as pixels and
turned them into some 300 louvres, which can freely
rotate a maximum of 180 degrees,’ the studio explains.
‘The space and shadows newly created by these
Above and opposite: Green
stainless steel shutters transform
a utilitarian box-like building,
without falling foul of local