South Korean architecture firm UTAA renovated a drab brick building into Pinocchio, a fun and welcoming children’s center. Located in a secluded rural landscape near Pocheon’s Unak Mountain, the refurbished building features an eye-catching gabled wood-lined extension with a fully glazed end-wall. Inspired by the story of Pinocchio in the belly of a whale, the house-within-a-house extension lures viewers deep inside the children’s center through a cavernous cabin-like hallway before they even step foot inside the building.
The Pinocchio children’s center is a two-story building that includes programming for the arts, exhibition, education, play, and reading. High ceilings on the ground floor made it easy for the architects to insert the gabled extension, the glazed end of which juts out to the landscape and faces the garden. Used as a book cafe, the extension is lined with larch plywood and punctuated with windows and sitting nooks. The ground floor also includes larger rooms for exhibitions. The architects carved out two more house-shaped play structures on the gabled upper floor.
In addition to the recurring gabled motif and cutouts, UTAA introduced different sized spaces, from crawl-through nooks to tall-ceiling playrooms, to stimulate the imagination. Large windows fill the interior with natural light. The mostly white interior is punctuated by larch-clad sections and painted accent walls in lime green and pastel pink.
“I tried to create a space that stimulates the imagination and susceptibility of children, meeting the purpose of space that the owner asked for,” wrote UTAA to Archdaily. “Instead of inducing interest by decorative and visual elements, I induced the children themselves to communicate with the interior and exterior of the building, roaming around various spaces of the building.”
Images via UTAA