The “Square House” in Yeongwol | SMxL Architects

SMxL Architects,Release Time2023-09-04 11:07:00

Project information

Project Name: The “Square House” in Yeongwol

Office Name: SMxL Architects

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Firm Location: 202, Yeonnam-dong 245-43, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Completion Year: 2022

Site Area : 481.00㎡

Building area : 204.14㎡

Gross Built Area (m2/ ft2): 192.27 ㎡

Project Location: Yeongwol, Gangwon-do

Program / Use / Building Function: Single Family House

Lead Architects: Sangmin Lee

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Photo Credits: ©Hanbit kim

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The “Square House” in Yeongwol

The land and the house

© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim

© Hanbit kim

The “Square House” project in Yeongwol began when a son, who had dreamed of returning to the countryside, purchased land to build a house to live with his parents who had been living in his hometown village. Together with an architect the client surveyed many sites in the center of Yeongwol-eup (town) for about a year to find suitable land to build a house on, but he could not find the right place. The land he ultimately found and purchased is the site on which the house currently stands and although it was a bit further from the town center than he previously wanted, he was able build a house against a backdrop of scenic mountains and rivers spreading like a folding screen.

© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim

© Hanbit kim

The house and the yard


There are no other buildings near the site, and the strong visually horizontal feeling allows the square house built on the ground to be planned low and wide to blend well with the surroundings. This low and wide house encloses an inner courtyard in the middle so that a sufficient amount of light is always available regardless of the time of day, and light flows naturally into the two living rooms that are open to the yard. Surrounding the yard, the parents’ living space, which can be considered the main house, is located on the west side, and the space for the son who built the house for his parents is found on the east side.

© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim

© Hanbit kim

Openness and closedness


The family worried about privacy as the site was open to all directions. They requested that only a minimum number of windows for ventilation and lighting be installed facing the outside to prevent strangers from looking into the house, and they hoped that communication between family members only take place around the yard. In order to secure the requested level of privacy, the house itself serves as a fence, and an additional fence with a tall gate was installed in front of the parking lot and yard, leaving the yard open only to the sky. The client placed a small garden in the yard for his mother, who loves flowers, and planted a modest maple tree. Thus, even though the house is not open to the outside, it has become a place where family members can feel the flow of the seasons and time. In addition, the house is designed to allow sunlight and nature to enter the house through the living room open to the yard and the skylight above the living room.

© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim

© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim

Inside and outside


Two types of finishes are applied to the exterior of the house. The outer walls, including the fence and the gate, are covered with gray-colored long brick tiles to emphasize the feeling of firmly wrapping the house, while the wall facing the yard inside the gate is finished with a bright white external insulation material to create a cozy, rather than stuffy, atmosphere.

© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim

© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim

Communication and privacy


A concrete toenmaru (Korean-style porch) connected to the living room was placed in the yard to provide a space for family members to communicate in a comfortable setting. In addition, the parents’ and son’s living rooms are open to the yard so that they can see each other, and each room only has the number of windows necessary for light and ventilation so that they each can protect their privacy.

© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim

© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim© Hanbit kim1st Floor Plan © SMxL Architects

Roof Floor Plan © SMxL Architects

Section © SMxL Architects

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