micro apartment complex dorm-style living

Is college dorm-style living for adults a viable proposal for affordable housing in overcrowded cities? A micro apartment complex in Seoul offers bedroom-sized private units that connect to communal areas, and can be combined into two or more units for couples and families. Songpa Micro Housing by SsD Architecture encourages residents to socialize with each other, fostering a sense of community.

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Many micro apartment complexes tend to be provisional, essentially just offering a place for singles or new transplants to crash at night without ever really feeling like home. One-room apartments packed in together can be cold and impersonal, with residents just passing each other in the hallways. This kind of approach could hinder micro apartments from being seen as a comfortable, long-term housing solution, especially as residents’ life circumstances change over time.

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At Songpa, residents can gather in the ground-floor gallery space that functions as one big living room, as well as basement-level and second-floor communal areas. A micro-theater in the stairway to a cafe offers places to sit and relax. Many of these spaces are connected visually thanks to courtyards, skylights and lots of glass.

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Couples can connect two neighboring units via semi-public open bridges and balconies, and the functions of each apartment shift at the flick of a wrist thanks to operable walls concealing the flip-down beds, tables, kitchens and bathroom facilities.

More from the architects

“Units can be used for differing programs such as galleries or work spaces. This flexibility allows occupants to live in the building longer and thus more sustainably as they will not have to move out with changing situations. Finally, the micro‐auditorium / cafe on the ground floor and basement are spatially linked to the units as a shared living room.

“While the zoning regulations require the building be lifted for parking, the resulting open ground plane can be constantly reprogrammed for differing events such as performances, art openings, or gatherings. Pedestrian traffic is pulled from the street down through the micro‐auditorium steps, connecting city, building, and residents to the exhibition spaces below.”