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GRAY AWARDS 2020 Editors’ Picks

See the entries that caught our editors’ eyes.


Each week through January 2021, we will be rolling out two of our Editors’ Picks from GRAY Awards 2020.

Editors’ Pick: Treehouse CoLiving


By GRAY Editors

The heart of the Treehouse CoLiving residences in Seoul, South Korea, designed by Bo-daa, is a communal garden. Image by Rohspace.

As cities become more crowded and people, especially those in the younger generation, eagerly embrace smaller residential footprints, creative housing solutions are flourishing around the globe. In Seoul, South Korea, a city with a population of nearly 10 million, the Treehouse CoLiving building, designed by architecture firm Bo-daa in the city’s Gangnam neighborhood, is a standout example of an interesting, successful design that elevates the experience of shared housing.

Each floor of Treehouse CoLiving offers a different unit layout, all of which promote small-space living. Image by Lee Jieung.

With 72 units designed to appeal to young professionals (and their pets), Treehouse is centered by an interior garden that is lined with collaborative work areas, lounge spots, a communal kitchen, laundry facilities, and pet baths. Above the garden are six floors of residential units: a mix of micro-studios and micro-lofts. The units on each floor have a differently styled layout. Some offer lofted sleeping quarters over an open soaking tub, others boarst a ladder of ledges to provide perches for feline residents, and there is a more spacious penthouse option for couples.

Our editors were drawn to the creative use of space throughout the building and the care taken to utilize every inch available. So often architects design cookie-cutter units in multi-family buildings and don't pay much attention to the increasing importance of making these types of residences a more appealing option. As populations continue to grow and cities become more dense, buildings such as Treehouse CoLiving are perfect examples of the creative use of space (and the idea that we don't need as much space as we think we do) and a return to community outside the nuclear family unit.

All units are contemporary and compact. Image by Lee Jieung.

“The beauty of the project is how the spatial composition reflects the communal lifestyle,” Bo-daa writes in its entry. “The atrium is the spatial heart of the residence, yet it is the stacking of private units that creates the space. The community cannot exist without the individual, and the individual is anchored by the community. Residents look upon the garden twice: upon entry into the ground floor and as they enter their unit. Community is not forced but coaxed: each unit is designed for a single person with private bath and kitchenette, and residents only share amenities where larger scale and community make for a better experience.”

The Treehouse CoLiving building is located in Seoul's tech-centric Gangnam neighborhood. Image by Rohspace.

CATEGORY: Architecture, Residential

PROJECT: Treehouse CoLiving

FIRM: Bo-daa


LOCATION: Seoul, South Korea

PHOTOGRAPHED BY: Lee Jieung and Rohspace


Melody Song

Xinyi Wang

Dionysus Cho

Xiao Wu

Hayeon Kim

Nam Yong Kim


Kolon Global

Hanki Engineering and Architecture

Kidea Partners

#grayawards #grayawards2020 #editorspicks #architecture #coliving #communityliving #residential #design #communalliving

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