korean studio one-aftr repurposes industrial ruins into plant-filled dabang café

korean studio one-aftr repurposes industrial ruins into plant-filled dabang café

Dabang Café: A Sanctuary for Plants and Humans

 

Seoul-based architecture studio One-Aftr has recently completed Dabang Café, a new café located in Jeonju-si, South Korea. The café is housed in three abandoned buildings that were once used as a dormitory for factory workers. The buildings were falling into disrepair, with crumbling roofs and rotting timber frames. As a result, the roof had opened up to the sky and the floor had reverted to earth. The buildings had deteriorated as nearby factories closed down, and wild plants had begun to take over, transforming the site into an enclosed garden. The renovation is a delicate balance between preserving the existing structures and introducing new elements to create a new space that is welcoming. The team began by opening up the ground, walls, and roofs, inserting a new roof structure that liberates the existing buildings from structure, MEP, and HVAC. 

one-aftr dabang caféOne-Aftr prioritizes adaptive reuse over new build in Jeonju-si | images © Jang Mi

 

 

one-aftr exemplifies adaptive reuse in korea

 

One-Aftr’s renovated Dabang Café occupies three elongated structures, former ruins, which stand parallel to one another. The widest building on the north side was once the home of dormitory managers, while the two narrow buildings housed factory workers and their families. The units are compact and close together, making it difficult to maintain the existing structure for modern-day use. Rather than demolishing the buildings completely, the architects at One-Aftr systematically demolished parts of the walls and roof to improve circulation, ventilation, sunlight, and plant growth.

one-aftr dabang caféthe café occupies three abandoned buildings that were once used as a dormitory for factory workers

 

 

The Café and Sunken Garden

 

The northern building, now a café, is the only fully enclosed and conditioned space following the renovation by One-Aftr. The café features a simple and elegant design, with whitewashed walls and exposed wooden beams. The large windows allow for plenty of natural light to flood the space, and the café is filled with lush plants. In the middle building, only two exterior walls were preserved. The architects excavated the ground further to create a sunken garden, providing an open-air space for trees and grass to thrive. The sunken garden is a beautiful and tranquil space where visitors can relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.

one-aftr dabang café
One-Aftr preserves the existing structures while introducing a modern and welcoming new atmosphere

 

 

The southern building had its interior walls preserved, but the ones facing the middle building and the vacant lot were demolished. The dormitory units were then transformed into raised floor seating. This allows visitors to sit closer to the plants and enjoy the unique atmosphere of the space. An elongated pathway on the eastern end of the site connects the existing buildings, and is lined with trees and plant life — providing a scenic route for visitors to explore the café.

one-aftr dabang café
a sunken garden occupies the middle building to provide an open-air space for trees and plants

korean studio one-aftr repurposes industrial ruins into plant-filled dabang café
the café features a simple and elegant design, with whitewashed walls and exposed wooden beams

one-aftr-dabang-cafe-south-korea-designboom-06a

dormitory units were then transformed into raised floor seating

korean studio one-aftr repurposes industrial ruins into plant-filled dabang café
the sunken garden is a calm space where visitors can relax and enjoy nature

one-aftr-dabang-cafe-south-korea-designboom-08a

café-goers are invited to sit among the plants and enjoy the sunlit, garden atmosphere

 

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project info:

 

project title: Dabang Café

architecture: One-Aftr | @oneaftr

location: Jeonju-si, South Korea

completion: 2023

photography: © Jang Mi

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