starsis upgrades two 60-year-old barns into a bar and cafe in korean suburbs

starsis upgrades two 60-year-old barns into a bar and cafe in korean suburbs

together with segan, a group of local traditional crafters, korean architecture studio starsis has transformed two old houses in korea in a fancy bar and cafe. built in the middle of last century, these structures have been undergoing constant changes with their space design depending on the needs of the inhabitants — the architects have removed the aging layers to reveal the original look of the buildings and strengthened the raw construction to set an authentic spot.

all images © hong seokgyu



the first building — the cafe — was a collapsing structure with fungi all over the walls — after years of being randomly used by different people, the space ended up with nine malfunctioning doors. to highlight the rich history of the house, the architects have decided to leave the traces of the doors by restoring some of them, while using the others as windows. the entrance, which is set between a concrete wall and metal sheets, continues to the roof with a huge skylight opening letting the natural light and the crowns of the surrounding trees into the cafe’s interior.



after years without a human touch, the bar looked cold and abandoned. the floor initially equipped with gudeul — a korean traditional heating system — was covered by layers of cement, while the plywood ceiling had a lot of holes that must have been fixed many times over. curious about the original shape, starsis carefully began to uncover the inner structure that was hidden from the eyes. done 60 years ago, it was surprisingly robust and let the architects keep it as it was just adding some technical equipment and furniture for the bar.

the ginkgo tree that can be seen over the cafe’s ceiling gives an air of picturesqueness


the severed wall that can be seen at the entrance is used as a reception desk


ambiguously placed objects of art can function as chairs or sculptures



one can get a glimpse of traditional korean style architecture from the bar built in hanok style



traditional korean small portable dining table soban and sitting mats placed around harmoniously


side view of jumak, a traditional korean bar


a corridor leading to the inner courtyard


people can now sit on guduel, where it has been uncovered


project info:


design: starsis

designer: park hyunhee

location: 37, subuk-ro, gyuam-myeon, buyeo-gun, chungcheongnam-do

building area: 146 sqm

construction: starsis

photography: hong seokgyu

project year: 2018


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom

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