Seoul Coffee Shop Variations: A New Urban Culture and Hybridization of Functions

By Ekaterina Shafray and Seiyong Kim.

Published by The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

With more than a century of appearance in Korea, recently drinking coffee has become an essential element of urban culture. In Korea coffee brands were imported since 1990s and 2000s; in the last decade the number of specialty coffee shops reached 15,000. Nowadays, due to the high demand of urban life, various coffee shops and cafes exist in a city. Frequently a small area occupied by coffee shop, its location, proximity to urban dominant functions, users preference, high competitiveness, and other factors created a unique environment and design solutions for coffee shops in Seoul. This study analyzes coffee shops from the perspective of urban design typology. It provides the examples of coffee shop building types ranging from one-story space to five-story specialized coffee house building. Further the case study traces coffee shops the usability features in relation to their location: nearby Korea university campus, at commercial, cultural, and entertainment area of Myeong-dong, and at the office and business district of Yeouido. It notes the certain adaptation of space to the dominant function of the area. Lastly, the study highlights seven types of program variations and integration with the other functions. These coffee shop variations and combinations with other activities, on the one hand, show uniqueness and ingenuity of their creators as a response to a competitive environment; on the other hand, indicate a flexibility and hybridization of urban functions in Seoul as Asian global city.

Keywords: Coffee Shop, Usability and New Functions, Seoul

The International Journal of Architectonic, Spatial, and Environmental Design, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp.27-37. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.237MB).

Ekaterina Shafray

PhD Candidate, Architecture Department, Urban Planning and Design Lab, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea

Seiyong Kim

Professor, Architecture Department, Urban Planning and Design Lab, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea