Co.Design

Geek Heaven: A Housing Complex Inspired By Space Invaders [Slideshow]

The zig-zagging structure is meant to allow residents a maximum amount of sunlight, fresh air, and outdoor space.

We're used to seeing architectural renderings resembling comic-book-fueled fantasies of the future. But we've yet to come across a building modeled on an arcade game -- until now: "Space Invader," NL Architects? winning plan for a residential development in Gapyong, outside of Seoul, takes its shape from the oversize pixels of the beloved classic videogame.

"Coming down the slope of the hill, the buildings seem to be animated.?

Well, actually, the shape was kind of an accident. "It is the result of our programmatic analysis, a logical outcome of the requirements and restrictions," NL's Kamiel Klaasse tells Co.Design. The client and master planner considered it important for each apartment to have direct access to the street, but there wasn't enough space for all the units to be on the ground. So the architects stacked two apartments on top of each other -- the lower level is one apartment, the two upper floors make up the other -- and, in the process, created a stepped terrace. "The lower house becomes the carrier of a new artificial ground level," Klaasse says.

The complex is part of a larger masterplan, with contributions from firms including Yo2, MSA, CAT, Unsangdong, and FOA. NL's part occupies the steepest plot in the development, and the Space Invaders are arranged in a cascading sequence along a hill. "It looks especially funny to us, since coming down the slope of the hill, they seems to be animated," Klaasse says. We don't know what's next for the Amsterdam-based firm, but we have some words of advice: Ms. Pacman's always a crowd-pleaser.

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