Urban spatial designing is often discouraged by the limitation of space, causing to relinquish creativity over practicality.
“Framed Individuality”
Designer: James Shin
Location: 186 Grand St. Soho NYC
Status: Concept
The renovation of a single-family residence in 186 Grand St. demonstrates a strategic floor planning, that utilizes the concept of “framing” to define each program within a residential space in aesthetically pleasing way. Rather than being open, the design takes the apartment’s overall narrow floor plan as an advantage to enclose each individual program and still manage to provide the maximum comfort through particular features. A compact apartment as such, now successfully serves the client’s family of four by configuring the floor plan in the most efficient and innovative way, bringing in the industrial but artistic vibe of SoHo directly into this residence.

Sketch 2

From the minimalistic visual components to strategic space planning,  Japanese architecture becomes very compelling when it comes to designing a compact space. Deeply Inspired by The Moriyama House designed by SANAA studio, the new 186 Grand St. reflects the major idea of gathering the individuals to form a community within the given boundary, and at the same time alleviate the feeling of space compression through its simplistic design features.

The design concept defines “individuals” as programs within a residence. Regardless of the major challenge of space limitation the apartment’s floor plan introduces, the design takes a bold decision to enclose each space of program individually, rather than being as open as possible to make the residence look spacious. Each program becomes identified with individual framed spaces, and the frames become a visual connection producing a compelling rectilinear aspect throughout the entire space.
[Program relationship study sketches]

Concept floorplan

Variation in program layout greatly impacts on how the overall space is utilized, especially for this project. Thus the understanding of the relationship between different programs was crucial, expressing different ideas and strategies of program layout through layers of concept sketches in order to come up with the final floor plan that provides all amenities to the client with maximum convenience.
Visual Hierarchy

Face variation

Such minimalistic design system is consisted of two major components: frame and panel. The sytem demonstrate a playful variation in proportions of glazings and solids within the panels, to provide different levels of privacy each program demands. For example: the panels of the restrooms have glazings in the lower portion to reveal occupancy in restroom with maxium privacy, where as the panels of the living room have glazings dominate half the portion of the panels to maximize the visual access and open the area to the others. Such tactic supports the overall rectilinear look of the design, emphasizing the consistency in visual aesthetics throughout the entire space.

James Shin
Graduated Pratt Institute with BFA in Interior Design, at 2016. Born in South Korea, raised in New Jersey. Currently working at Gensler (12/2016 – current)
The best part of interior designing is that it triggers engagement with all five senses our human bodies are equipped of. From visual aesthetics of tangible textures to defining program of space through resonance and scent, its influence is so overwhelming it almost convinces you to even start tasting the atmosphere at the tip of your tongue.
Mood is the most important element I pay attention to, everywhere at every time. Even a simple tweak as changing the brightness of light can introduce a pleasant intervention. I probably would not be able to last a day in a room with a white fluorescent light.