Seoul, KR


House of Serenity

In Yangsan, a local city in Korea, there is a historic temple called Tongdosa, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Project “House of Serenity” is located nearby. Usually, the vicinity of the temple is quite busy with mass gathering but the surrounding area of this house carries a quiet and deep atmosphere as if one had entered an old primeval forest.

In order to enter Tongdosa Temple, there is a long path after the gate. But near this house, there is a shortcut that connects directly to main temple of Tongdosa. It's like getting straight to the point without an introduction.

 The design process of this house also came straight to the point, similar to relationship between the temple and the site. We skipped the usual long conversation to know the client’s wishes, since the client had a clear taste and a clear vision for the residence.

 The client wanted an elegant and Asian house like “House in Geumsan” that we designed previously, which was carried out with a modern lightweight wooden structure to bring out the traditional feeling of Hanok (Korean traditional house). The client also wanted a simple house with a wide and high-ceiling kitchen and living room. Lastly, he wanted to the house to be surrounded by various gardens to all directions.

 We should not just borrow an old form to give an atmosphere of traditional, Korean-like architecture. Above all, it is vital to 'read and interpret' the land. A few years ago, we gave a lecture on our work and Korean architecture at a certain university in Philadelphia, USA. We insisted that land is a very important factor in architecture, and the relationship with land in Korean architecture is more special. At the end of the talk, a lot of questions were asked. Among them was, "Why on earth is land so crucial in architecture?" We asked back. "Why should the land not matter?" Land of Korea is a ‘wrinkled land’, so to speak, with 70% of the 220,000-square-meter area being defined as mountainous. In addition, it is necessary to provide for a climate with four distinct seasons and an annual temperature difference of more than 50 degrees. As a result, there is a time-honored and persistent architectural value that respects the land with a sense of awe.

 Reading the ground is like entering a dark theater and waiting until your eyes are familiarized with the darkness. The site was calm and quite, surrounded by the vast mountain framework and wonderful clusters of pine trees. We thought of an appropriate volume that does not interfere with the gaze of facing mountains. And for harmony with old forests and hills, the house was designed to sit lightly on the ground. The long, thin configuration with all rooms facing south is also a formal characteristic of private house that Koreans are too familiar with and have seen for a long time.

 The rafters exposed under the roof are formed of thin and long lightweight wood structures, which inevitably give a sharp atmosphere compared to the traditional round rafters of a Hanok with a bit of heavy atmosphere. So, the interior is accentuated with thick and hard wooden columns, giving a sense of heavy wooden structure. On the second floor, the distant landscape view was extended to the front and back and Korea's unique “maru” space are designed to provide a space neither inside nor outside. At the boundary between the living room and the yard, a “toenmaru” where you can sit facing the landscape is arranged, and the external garden is directly connected in all directions of east, west, north, and south. Ultimately, architecture became a passage through which the landscapes crossed, and the nature and gardens surrounding the house became the real co-owners of the house.

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Status: Built
Location: Yangsan, KR
Firm Role: architect
Additional Credits: Architect : Hyoungnam Lim, Eunjoo Roh in studio_GAON
Project Team : Sungpil Lee, Seongwon Son, Laeyeon Kim
Photographs : Youngchae Park
Location : Yangsan-si, Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea
Use : House
Site Area : 944㎡
Building Area : 155.79㎡
Gross Floor Area : 199.47㎡
Building Scope : 2F