Text description provided by the architects. The site located at the heart of Seoul. In the Japanese colonial era, the area was organised as a detached housing district with evenly divided lots. Thus, it was filled up with low-rise detached houses for a long time but is now occupied by multi-family housings and neighbourhood living facilities. The project started based on the detailed requests of the client couple who wanted to build a beautiful house giving life to alleys which still display a strong image as a residential district but are sparsely dotted with office.
It was late fall of 2015 when I visited the original detached house for the first time. The house's large southern courtyard was covered with the dense leaves of a decades-old persimmon tree, and its terrace on the 2nd floor was draped with a bamboo blind for privacy reasons. While designing a new house after demolishing this house of the 1970's, I thought the new house using the 4th and 5th floors should contain the languages of a detached house. This new house will be able to enjoy a southwestern view over Namsan Mountain in the distance.
Adjoining a 5m-wide road on the north, the narrow rectangular site belongs to a class 2 general residential area allowing for a building coverage ratio of 60% and a floor area ratio of 200%. The proposed building is planned to have neighbourhood living facilities on its 1st and 2nd floors and 4 multi-family housing units on its 3rd to 5th floors.
One neighbourhood living facility positioned on the front side of the 1st floor is designed as a duplex connected with internal stairs. The other facility on the rear side is a small space of 5 pyeong, yet its large windows linked with an outdoor deck and a courtyard relieve its sense of confinement. A terrace is added to a neighbourhood living facility on the 2nd floor, and it enables natural lighting and ventilation while minimising interference to neighbouring houses. Wood louvers on the front and right facades on the 2nd and 3rd floors protect privacy and give warmth to the blue old brick exterior, 2 units with 1.5 rooms on the 3rd floor and 1 studio on the 4th floor are fully furnished with sinks, built-in wardrobes, fridges and washing machines to provide a practical living space.
A duplex unit occupying the 4th and 5th floors has a main entrance on the 5th floor and provides a living room, dining, kitchen, children's room and study with high ceiling along with an attic. The 4th floor is arranged as a private space with a master bedroom, bathroom and laundry. The 5th floor has a terrace which becomes a green lounge connected with the dining room, providing a view over Namsan and the sky. The living room works as a playroom for twin sisters who were born during construction, and it is linked with their room, it is designed as an open space so that the whole space can be seen even from the kitchen on the other side.
What is required most when designing 1 studio, 2 units with 1.5 rooms, 1 residence for the client and 3 neighbourhood living facilities for the site of about 50 pyeong was giving each one of them a separate access to out-door spaces like courtyard or terrace. The courtyard and terrace which are carefully positioned on each floor turn into as a wide-open lounge and scenic observatory.
The outdoor terrace connected with the comfortable interior space becomes another room where users can enjoy a relaxing time in downtown. Also, while greeting each other with neighborhoods on the terrace, they will be able to feel a bond with the community.