Enclave of terraced houses re-interprets principle of the'borrowed view'
This project is located in the exclusive historical district of Seongbuk-dong in Seoul, South Korea. Presented with the challenge of a steeply sloping site, this enclave of 12 private houses is designed so that every residence possesses ample private outdoor space and unobstructed views of the landscape. From the scale of the site plan to the design of the individual units, the project weaves together building and landscape and indoor and outdoor spaces.
The project’s design updates the ancient principle of the 'borrowed view', which merges the private gardens in the foreground with natural features in the distance. The staggered arrangement of L-shaped dwellings ensures that each unit enjoys unobstructed open southern views of a wooded valley, framed in the foreground by the terrace or its neighbors’ green roof. All roofs are planted with a gridded pattern of four different species of sedum. When viewed from the national park across the valley, the pattern merges to form a dynamic composition of colours that change with the seasons, blending the structures into the surrounding landscape.
Inspired by its location, the design approach incorporates elements of traditional Korean architecture into a more progressive design vocabulary. The continuous stone wall along the internal street protects the privacy of residents in a manner similar to bulwarks that once fortified ancient palaces, while cantilevered roofs of each unit hover about the stone wall in a way that recalls the streetscape of a historic Asian city. Also inspired by Han-oak, the traditional Korean courtyard house, the units are organised around two courtyards, which visually link each dwelling with the landscape beyond: natural stone finishes continue inside through glazed walls to meet wood floors that accentuate living areas, while furniture and upholstery incorporate materials and colors from the mountain view, blurring the boundary between indoors and outdoors.