While many contemporary families increasingly live further apart, a respected poet and her three daughters, each with their own families, find a site in a cozy yet high-density village where the new and old can coexist. In this unique situation, Simgok House meets the difficult demand of connecting the extended family under one roof while providing privacy for each occupant.
Within a hyper-compact footprint, the tight envelope is broken to strategize views and privacy. Utilizing the slippage in between, the resulting three volumes divide into four custom-fit units. Overlapping interior and exterior stairs diversifies circulation while maximizing space efficiency. The peninsular lot exposes the ground floor, challenging privacy and security. Elevating the building mass on concentric columns creates a ‘common ground’ with an open view from the inside and a closed view from the outside. The level difference between neighboring Hanok (traditional Korean house) and garden is a dynamic spatial experience, a pleasant center-piece for the family to enjoy without unwanted exposure to the street.
The mother occupies the unit with closest ground-level access, whose skylighted double-height space create an uncompromising drama. Sister 1 unit is for a couple with two children: four bedrooms connect to a corridor which doubles as a common area, allowing necessary moments of solitude. Sister 2 unit is for a couple with one child: among the communal and interactive working and playing spaces, an alcove altar serves the family’s Catholic faith. Sister 3 unit is for a couple without kids: a double-height atrium and arched threshold leads to the shared kitchen. The roof provides a “sky-yard” for all four families to gather and enjoy the view of surrounding mountains. The façade composition evokes pareidolic readings: the activity of the occupants within animate various ‘faces,’ familiarizing an otherwise artificial object.