Deok Kyu Chung

Studio Work / 2018
Prof. Jesús Vassallo

Awarded Margaret Everson-Fossi Travelling Fellowship

The project investigates the possibilities of constructing a strategy to develop currently vacant sites due to their non-rectilinear shapes and remnants of the past creations - conditions the current housing development model finds challenging.

The existing housing typology of the site is composed of single-family houses, townhouses, and perimeter block apartments. There is a robust figure-ground condition with a clear definition of front-back or inside-outside. Here, the outdoor space is either an undefined zone surrounding the figure or a very defined void at the center of a volume.

Site Plan

Site Strategy

The design utilizes a series of mini-blocks deployed on sites of varying shapes. First, blocks are orthogonally shuffled around the site with the movement only in a relationship among the blocks. Then, the blocks are rotated along the site geometry, creating a dialogue between inside-outside, where there is no clear distinction, but instead, the ground floor becomes an open field articulated by a series of earth columns.


Site Plan


To further the distinction between front-back and inside-outside, corridors are on either side of volume - one on the first floor and the other on the fourth - with a sense of movement perceived from the ground.

Ceiling Oblique

Such a strategy results in a few spatial conditions that connect the project to the surrounding site. Approaching, one sees narrow openings that start to give a sense of space beyond, furthered by a few moments of a clear vista that extend to the other end of the site.

Aggregated Plan




The experience creates a flattened image or a collage of the old and the new, earth columns framing the existing city fabric. The transition from inside-outside or vice versa allows for more direct knowledge of the materiality with openings filtering natural lights reflected from the earth wall.

Axonometric Module A

Plan Module A

The blocks are primarily divided into two parts with interlocking volumes. The first type, units are attached directly to the core, ranging from one to three-bedroom apartments.

Other units consist of either one or two-bedroom apartments extending vertically or horizontally. Vertical extensions, mainly occurring at the edge of the site, further demarcate architecture’s presence. Furthermore, the additions allow roof space to be more public and enjoyable.

Axonometric Module B

Plan Module B

Model Photo

The materiality of architecture plays an exciting role in how spaces are experienced. First, entering the corridor either from an elevator or a staircase, one encounters ambient light from above, an open passage extending to exterior space, and an aperture at the end of the corridor, framing the adjacent surface with direct sunlight.

Public Staircase

Public Staircase Section



  Corridor Section

Ground Floor Section

Second, each unit starts with a space articulated by a lowered ceiling. A generous staircase leads the movement above and below in a two-story unit, with a sense of space beyond with light reflected off the earth's surface.



Living Section

Living Section



Third, the living room is an open space with a large window that cannot be directly touched but lets natural light into the double-height space.

Fifth, transitions space is always an experience of a thick earth wall - different than walking through a partition wall with a punctured door.

Staircase Axonometric

Model Photo

The thick earth construction initially perceived as a point or a column, particularly at the ground floor, becomes a surface or a wall. Here, the transition from one space to another allows for a more intimate experience with the earth wall — finally, the material recognition changes from a surface to a room or volume that can embody a self.