Lim Geo Dang / IROJE KHM Architects

© YongKwan Kim

Architects: IROJE KHM Architects
Location: JangHangDong, IlSan, GoYang,
Architect in Charge: HyoMan Kim
Project manager: JiWon Han
Site area: 231.6 sqm
Gloss floor area: 199.22 sqm
Photographs: YongKwan Kim

Traditional but Modern

“Traditional but modern!” That was the requirement of the clients, in their thirties, who worked as authors and publishers. For a long time, successful translation of tradition expressed in a modern vocabulary has been a goal of design for Korean architects presently. That has been a very complex puzzle and a difficult problem to solve. However, it’s essential to study the heritage of tradition, since tradition could be the motive of creation.

© YongKwan Kim

Dramatic sequence of space & Picturesque frame

The spatial design concept set for this small house was based on is dramatic circulation, which was characteristic of traditional architecture in Korea. The circulation of ancient Korea continues infinitely in space, overlaps and penetrates each other asymmetrically, and finally, produces several picturesque frames by surrounding nature and building.

sections 02

Eight places of “Madang”(traditional innercourt)

At this time, the house has to be a shelter from the outer world. It is necessary to contact with nature which brings the urban house rich changes and variation during its life time(i.e., witnessing the blossoming and decaying of flowers). “Madang”(open court yard) was the very “nature” in ancient Korea.

© YongKwan Kim

Spatial Korean traits

Eight places of “madang” located in different levels were planned to produce attractive and interesting drama of spaces. All the major spaces of this house were designed to have a direct relationship to “madang”. Entrance  court, basement courts Ⅰ&Ⅱ, jungja(pavilion), service court, inner court, and upper court Ⅰ&Ⅱ were all the “madangs” at different levels that linked each other with both horizontal and vertical circulation. There are interesting changes, variety, through the circulation between the “madang”.

basement & first floor plan

It is a very small site to have exterior spaces of desirable size by common layout of rooms at ground level. To have as wide an area of “madang” as possible, only a living room and a dining room are placed on he ground level; the others are either below ground or above ground. Moreover, the bed-zone-mass of the upper floor was built with a piloti structure; therefore, the space below can be used as “madang”, too. This so called “RU” type program brings the house several merits of architectural condition. First of all, it gives the inner court a comfortable atmosphere because of the surrounding “madangs” which play important roles. Secondly, it creates another “madang”, which was a part of the inner court, covered with a roof. Last, without any fence ( a solid fence cannot be built in this area according to the regional building code), it separates the house from public road, and, at the same time, it solves the problem of relationship between the “privacy” inside and the neighborhood outside. “Madang” is a buffer zone between the house and he public road. It is also the place to contact with the neighborhood.

© YongKwan Kim

Visual Korean traits

A heavy mass of woods flying over the roadside was expected to evoke the “flying” image from traditional architecture were used in this project. “T” shaped metal ties used to fasten wooden members to each other, over hanging doors, and steel rods which hang out the doors are the traditional elements; however, they can be modernized and recall past as the same time.

Traditional culture is the origin of present ideas. The study of this project was only an experiment to read inheritance in modern language.

Cite: "Lim Geo Dang / IROJE KHM Architects" 01 Feb 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 May 2015. <>
  • Architist

    Korean architecure always impressive. Their love for wood is surely express here…

  • wartian

    this is one of the Korean contemporary building that looked so Korean..!cheers

  • wartian

    This is one of the Korean contemporary building that looked so Korean..!cheers!

  • mike

    very intricate design.
    It leans heavily on the “modern” side of course, but I’m impressed by how the architect plays around with space; particularly the “madang”.

  • architect

    ‘Lim Geo Dang’, is not ‘Lim Geo Dnag’. It means that ‘Madang’ livnig forest.

  • gwri

    constructive details are really good , wood , concrete very nice job

  • Matt

    Brilliant! These guys are some of the most fascinating producers out there. What a fresh take on the idea of melding tradition and modernity!

  • Jérôme Carujo

    Real cool architectural combination of wood, concrete and glass in #Korea (via @Benjing1976)

  • Modern Zen Architecture

    Very nicely done. I truly believe with the Korean’s world class technology and passion to hold on to, and celebrate their culture, we will start to see more and more traditional designs, but with a modern twist. The heavy use of wood works well with the concrete. Getting the best of both worlds!!

  • Nicholas Patten

    I'd Live Here: Lim Geo Dang.

  • Tap Online

    RT @nicholaspatten: I'd Live Here: Lim Geo Dang. – Me too! #arch #design

  • Pingback: 伝統的に、しかしモダンに「Lim Geo Dang / IROJE KHM Architects」 | kurasu-あなたの生活を豊かに快適にするWEBマガジン

  • Steve de Brun

    The brief to the architects: "Traditional but modern!"

  • Architecture Topic

    Architecture #Architecture: Lim Geo Dnag / IROJE KHM Architects…

  • Architecture Topic

    Architecture #Architecture: Lim Geo Dang / IROJE KHM Architects…

  • bluevertical

    Lim Geo Dang by IROJE KHM Architects #architecture #interiordesign *some nice spaces in the mix

  • Nordic Designs

    RT @blueverticalLim Geo Dang by IROJE KHM Architects #architecture #interiordesign *some nice…

  • K+BB Magazine

    RT @bluevertical: Lim Geo Dang by IROJE KHM Architects #architecture #interiordesign *some nice spaces in the mix


    love how the lighting adds! RT @bluevertical: Lim Geo Dang by IROJE KHM Architects #architecture #interiordesign