Shinsa Shell

Shinsa Shell


Seoul, South Korea | 2002

The upscale but chaotic Shinsadong district in Seoul is home to many of the city’s trendiest boutiques and cafes, housed in hastily designed buildings pasted over with mismatched materials and signs. As a counterpoint, Shinsa Shell was designed to create a place of refuge for both the eye and the body.

Six stories tall, and 20,000 SF in size, the building’s relatively monolithic form stands up to the many fragmented structures nearby, as well as the existing power pole and wires that were impossible to relocate. Clad in limestone and utilizing punched openings rather than large expanses of glass, its solid walls and reduced palette resist the colorful cacophony of their surroundings. 

Subtle angles on the structure’s long side intensify the narrowness and intimacy of the adjacent side street. Following local daylighting codes, the building’s top two floors step back to assure adequate sunlight for the street below, as well as create rooftop terraces with views of the surrounding city.


Project Team

Design Architect: John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects
Executive Architect: SAC International, Ltd.
Project Designer: John Friedman
Project Team: Alice Kimm, Dan Parks, Laurian Pokroy, Angela Uriu
Project Assistant: Dan Ikeda
General Contractor: Inmo Yang
Photography: Ho Kwan Park



Soon Eui Lee