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Masterful masonry: Sinbong-dong, South Korea, by JOHO Architecture.

Obtuse corner view.

Photos: Namgoong Sun.


The Modernist thinking that suffuses the design of this house is strong and apparent. But what is less clear, unless you happen to be a scholar of Korean housing, is the inspiration JOHO Architecture have taken from the traditional pattern of Korean house building.

The curve of the roof, the piloti, the internal layouts are all recognizable from the traditional house, but rendered here in modern materials and techniques.

The dramatic curved front is described by the architect as being the shape of a convex lens. The sweep is given by the wish to take advantage of the dramatic view over the garden.

The use of brick is interesting and calls to mind the work of Lewerentz at Klippon, and that architect's well-known aversion for cutting bricks. Here the curve is rendered by setting the angle of each brick giving a textured surface to the external walls.

The texture of the materials used is also important. The bricks are finished in two ways: one is ash coloured with a traditional mat finish, whilst another type has a silver water repellent coating. The architect thinks of these as fish scales!

Beneath the brickwork is a mirror polished cladding in which is set glazing. The reflective quality of the cladding makes this part of the building almost vanish in certain light, enhancing the impression that the building floats at this corner, and giving the adjacent terrace a richness from the reflection of luxuriant verdure and sky light.

Front elevation.

View of the curve.

Terrace detail.

Brickwork detail.

Distant view.

Reflective cladding.

View from the garden.

The lounge area.


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