From the architect: The owners of this house asked us to name the house as ‘House of Respect and Happiness’. It was just full one year since they were married. Though they weren’t 20s, they were very strong and fresh, just as cornlian cherry quaking by chilly spring wind. They met at a seminar, got married, and the husband chose the subject of his life as respect, while the wife chose as happiness. They wanted to make a space in their house to carry out exchange and educate.
Concept of architecture is a big bowl to put all contexts and programs together, that we choose every single word carefully. But in this case, the owner brought the concept in person for us to solve.
What is respect and what is happiness? Every single building we design has different programs and circumstances, but especially in this case, we thought we need a widely different approach.
The land was in Hanghyun-ri, Gapyeong, Gyungki-do. Gapyeong is a street corner to go to Daeseong-ri or Gangchon, where is famous for picnics or membership training. This place became much closer since they paved the road for years. While speeding with cars running through outskirts, we found the way to go into Hyun-ri valley was curling up on the left side. A long time ago when we were coming from Uijeongbu, we met a sweet road like meeting an oasis full of water and palm tree in the middle of wilderness, and that very road was what we met.
When you edge your way through Hyun-ri, there is a land which looks like it’s in a hollow sack. The land was on the top of the housing site, made by cutting the mountain to develop. It was exceedingly hot and rainy in the middle of summer, that the land was damp of rain, and the mountain on the north side was smoking moisture. Since the land was high on the end of the road, it was quiet and peaceful. Moreover, it had a very fancy face.
This building had two different programs. In one house, private space and public space coexists as well as housing and education. Therefore, we designed to cut the building into two parts from the first. The couple wanted the house to be small and cozy. Instead, they wanted the library spacious and high to work, educate and discuss with lots of people, contrary to the house.
Like two sun, we thought a separation of function to replace and lean on each other, such as: sun and moon, yin and yang, softness and stiffness, cold and warm.
Respect and happiness… We are very weak at such abstract words. The most necessary thing in your generation is respect. We all exist in individualized, fragmentized individuals. The thing we lost while the social border collapsed and the moral law has upgraded is adult and respect. Besides, we also lost the set up for dissolution of social conflict. Respect doesn’t come out of pressure or age. Using honorific and bowing heads are not respect. Respect is an eye on an existence and acceptance of an existence.
We’ve seen some architecture of respect. The building of Teogye Lee Hwang is it: Dosan-seodang built for 3 years when he was old, and Nongwoon-Jungsa where his disciples stayed. As for the relationship between the buildings, there is an architectural equipment and consideration of position by putting houses on the ground of same height to make them consider and abstain each other by the change of location and their eyes, rather than making the hierarchy by height. It let us know the true meaning of ‘Kyeung(敬)’-the word that Teogye kept for his whole life. The abstract word has been expressed as a physical space.
Architecturally, the acceptance between individuals starts from approving each space and eyes. To think about a house that every members gather but each of them live their own life by their thoughts and eyes in their own space to minimize interference, we may easily imagine a huge space or a house of great dimensions. However, it is not a mere problem to solve by expanding the physical space. Securing various heights and various quantity of the space is the key.
However large, if the apartment is designed flat, the spaces gather together to monitor each other. Human become closed and defensive to protect themselves. In that space, there can’t be any respect or trust.
That’s how modern house and modern education space looks like. Furthermore, every modern space monitor human for modernity to annihilate the fundamental desire of human for space.
Finally, respect is a boundary, eyes, and an attitude between plural existences.
Most of us design a family house. And we concern about awareness and consideration about the family and existences surrounding the members: physical existences like neighborhood, mountain, river, tree, and also numerous existences which are invisible.
We put two buildings without hierarchy in a slightly different direction to make a gap between them, and set the entrance for each of them in the yard between them. Since the library building had to use the mezzanine, it became higher than the house building. Walking up the outside stairs from the library building, you can meet the guest room, and there is a rooftop to watch movie in the open air or hold a meeting. And you can go over to the rooftop of the house building to watch the village on the north side.
This is our interpretation about horizontal architecture of ‘Kyeung’ to respect each other’s eyes.
Location: Hanghyeun-ri, Sang-myeon, Gapyeong, Gyeongki-do, South Korea
Type: Residential – Houses
Site Area : 414㎡
Building Area : 114.45㎡
Gross Floor Area : 115.65㎡
Architects: Hyoungnam Lim, Eunjoo Roh in studio_GAON
Project Team: Minjung Choi, Sangwoo Yi, Seongwon Son, Sungpil Lee, Hanmoe Lee, Joowon Moon
Photos: Yong Kwan Kim