by Jerry ElengicalOct 01, 2022
Seoul-located concept based practice NAMELESS Architecture sweeps a mountainous terrain in South Korea by creating a concrete edifice that serves a rather amusing purpose of being a café and a bakery. Uniting two cuboidal buildings separated by a central yard through a series of flowing walls, Café Teri - which looks quite institutional in its mannerism - is indeed an expression of an architectural icon majestically born out of a simple form.
The 900 sqm project is an endeavour by architects Unchung Na and Sorae Yoo who run a small studio committed to simplicity in an unpredictable world. The practice's area of expertise straddles architecture, city, and global cultural phenomenon. With Café Teri, the architect duo seeks to uplift the context that the project belongs to, while realising a space where standard definitions have no room.
The building sits on a 1673 sqm site, located below the eastern foot of Gyeryongsan Mountain in Korean city of Daejeon. Seated on a trail that emerges from a village and extend towards a rugged topography where the mountains take refuge, high pines frame Café Teri in a picturesque scenery. The edge to the architectural form is the way how walls of the opposite buildings appear to float into the adjoining yard. The way the two forms are laid – slightly converged towards one another – also remains another interesting nuance to the edifice. The curved walls meeting the yard give shape to an artificial valley, “where”, as per NAMELESS Architecture, “the distinction between the wall and the floor is blurred, creating a dynamic flow towards the forest.”
The fluidity of form continues inwards, inside the building's interiors composed of three storeys of hospitality programmes. Replicating the dominant narrative, the double-storey lower floor features a stepped seating space along a wall in a similar curved manner. Seven steps up, the wall takes a fluid sweep before it dissolves into the ceiling. Across the steps is a glass frontage with a row of internal seating before it, and adjacently a curved glass window appears punctured on an exposed concrete wall. On the other side of the space is an elaborate seating area and retail counter for the bakery, while upper storey too feature spaces for people to sit and relax with their favourite beverage.
While multiple glass openings dot the building's brick concrete skin, according to NAMELESS Architecture, the idea was to include the uplifted terrain in the backyard to form a static spatiality. “The inside and outside of the building become a place for people who come and go through the forest to rest and enjoy food,” adds the design team.
The materiality of the architecture sees a homogenous use of concrete in an eclectic palette. While the outer walls are clad in concrete brick, the interior walls feature exposed concrete, and floor in polished concrete. The specific use of concrete to construct the architectural topography was emphasised keeping in mind a sense of continuity of the flowing nature of the space.
Previous projects published by STIR which feature concrete edifices from South Korea include Herzog & de Meuron’s ST International HQ and SONGEUN Art Space in Seoul, and Rieuldorang Atelier’s Marea House. From elsewhere, STIR published countless other case studies on concrete architecture, which includes Taiwan-based XRANGE Architects' The Wandering Walls as a concrete retreat in rural Taipei, Spanish architect Fernando Menis’ Holy Redeemer Church and Community Centre in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, and Hyogo-based Maniera Architects’ Sculpt residence from a suburban Japanese landscape. Discover more such projects here