Rabelais Books and Theatre
Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik

Rabelais Books and Theatre

IWMW as Architects

'Rabelais Books and Theatre' is housed in a structure which was built in 1950, and is located in the dense and old city fabric of Seoul. On the edge of the triangular-shaped plot, a peach tree stands in a small courtyard. The roof terrace is surrounded by the old neighborhood and the peach flower is scattered into the air, creating a contrasting atmosphere to the busy street.

The building had already gone through several alterations, and the stone facade needed to be kept which has been repaired recently. The route to the inner side of the plot from the main road has a dramatic spatial quality because of its triangular shape. We saw the opportunity to create a sense of freedom and relief by creating a sequence of different spaces as you move deeper towards the courtyard.

photo_credit Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik
Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik
photo_credit Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik
Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik

The client, who studies literature and occasionally performs plays, wanted a space with “a spatial concept of a disguised bookstore which can also be used as a laboratory/working space that evokes the atmosphere of a monastery or a church within a cave”. When seen from the front façade the space will seem entirely like a bookstore, but moving towards the middle of the building, with its higher ceiling, the space becomes more of a “writing, translating and dreaming area during the daytime, and a gathering place for an informal chat, an actor’s recital and a festival of books at night”.

The ground floor is divided into three parts: an entrance bookstore, a cave bookstore, and a working space leading to the inner garden. The existing road had no pedestrian sidewalk which makes it difficult to access the building. By placing the new glass façade behind the existing one, a space is created that allows passers-by to move more easily and to have a look at the books. The entrance bookstore also works as a ticket booth for the theatre behind.

photo_credit Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik
Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik
photo_credit Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik
Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik

Pulling back the curtain, the hidden 'cave' part of the bookstore with a higher ceiling is revealed. As it is meant to be the festival area in the centre of a bookstore, a vault ceiling was planned to create the atmosphere of an old monastery. It is an inner space that allows visitors to stay comfortable, out of reach of the gaze from strangers on the street. It is a place that can be reminiscent of the shade of a divine tree in an old village that the client had dreamt of. The small courtyard reveals itself after going along the passage that is connected to the two working areas. To obtain enough space for the garden, demolition of one of the two sheds and a part of the stairs was necessary. The remaining parts of the shed and stair became ornamentation.

The upper floor is an additional working area for the client. Because of the tall buildings that surround the site, two additional ceiling lights were planned to brighten up the inner space. An extended vaulted room is connected to the outdoor terrace that overlooks the garden with the peach tree.

photo_credit Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik
Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik
photo_credit Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik
Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik

Team:
Architect: IWMW
Branding: Ohezin
Furniture: OTC
Consturction: Jinsung CND
Photography: Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik

photo_credit Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik
Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik
photo_credit Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik
Inwha Paik + Myoungwha Paik

Material Used:
1. Facade cladding: Stucco paint, EIFS, Byucksan
2. Flooring: Clay tile, Jeilbrick

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Project Credits
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Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrand
Facade cladding: Stucco paintByucksan
Product Spec Sheet
Facade cladding: Stucco paint
EIFS by Byucksan
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