The first country-associated house built at the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris in 50 years, the Maison de la Corée is also one of the first achievements of the « Cité 2025 » development project. Located on the south-east border of the Cité internationale’s park, on the edge of the ring road, the plot for the Maison de la Corée was occupied by sports facilities which were moved to uncultivated areas.
In 2014 a convention was signed in favour of the construction of the Maison de la Corée by the ministry of education for the Republic of Korea, the “Maison de la Corée de la Cité internationale universitaire de Paris” association, the chancellery of the universities of Paris and the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris. According to this convention, the chancellery of the universities of Paris dedicated 2600 m2 to the building for South Korea. On its side, the Korean party had to ensure the construction of the building by leaning on the Fondation coréenne that was charged with student housing. The following year, in Seoul, a jury made up of French and Korean figures appointed the Franco-Korean team of architects Ga.a architects and Canale 3 to construct the building. The first stone was laid in 2016 and the building was inaugurated in 2018.
The house holds the status of a foundation and is recognised as a public utility of which the board of directors is chaired by the South Korean ambassador in France.
The Maison de la Corée was designed by a team of Franco-Korean architects, Canal 3 and ga.a. It strived to provide its users with the Korean hospitality experience. One of the architects’ main goals was to create conditions conducive to exchange and communication among its users, both residents and visitors. The architects chose to reinterpret the basics of Korean spatial specificities: simplicity and serenity. The house is appropriate for the century without denying its history.
Facing the centre of the campus, the concrete eight-story building has an atypical volume and is far from quaint. It has 250 student rooms. The three façades are treated in different manners to better respond to the environment. Its north-east façade, orientated towards the park, is horizontal with a completely irregular glass wall, which is lined with corridors. Aluminium cladding, which makes a privacy screen, ensures privacy for the residents. Its southern façade, occupied by communal kitchens that form an acoustic barrier against the ring road, is mostly glass and equipped with a horizontal sun screen. Finally, its west-facing façade has premade polished concrete elements combined with white marble parts.
The residents benefit from a terrace that overlooks the park, a basement patio that lights up the study rooms and exposition rooms, a multipurpose room, music workshops and an artist studio. The ground floor is devoted to a Korean grocery shop and Korean restaurants, the Korean bar which is open to visitors. The Korean identity is translated by the presence of a garden and the “Pavillon du Lettré” located on the terrace above the multipurpose room. This little pavilion is the modern translation of the “study room” where scholars get together and talk.
The equipment in the rooms was designed using noble materials in order to provide a comfortable standard of living. Each group of rooms has a kitchen space on its floor. This connects with other levels in order to promote meetings. The communal kitchen on level R+2 allows for more important meetings. It opens directly onto the garden above the multipurpose room.
The Maison de la Corée constitutes a Parisian hub for the dissemination of South Korean culture. It promotes the dissemination of Korean language and culture.