Dried persimmons and Chodang in Gangneung As a locality, Chodang not only includes the birthplace of Heo Gyun and Heo Nanseolheon, literary brother-and-sister in Joseon Dynasty, but also has been famous for its Tofu Village since their father, Heo Yeop, invented the so-called Chodang Tofu. From time immemorial, every house in Gangneung has had a yard where a persimmon tree stands, so that one could see in autumn the peeled persimmons dangling on the eaves to make the dried persimmons (called “got-gam” in Korean) which would be well-trimmed, pinned to bush clover branches, and traded at a market. On the street where the dried persimmon market used to be open, now just one store is keeping the tradition of trading in them.
A flat-with-shop with yards put on all floors The project site is not at the center of Chodang Village, but on the land at its western periphery that was formed with a new road constructed. According to the location of the front road, the main orientation of the building was set to the west while the housing units were oriented to the south and the west. As the parking lot is put at the western entry of the site while the building is at the east, over the parking lot were placed the terraces conceptualized as the yards of Korean traditional houses so that they are commonly open to the cafe and the housing units. Given the southern adjacent building has a parking lot along the front western road, the ground under the protruding terraces adds up to one large yard including the whole parking lots for this and its adjacent buildings. The roadside terraces are jutting to the west but open to the south so as to screen the western departing rays of the sinking sun, and finished with corten steel, the material which is best-matched with bricks and exposed concrete, so as to serve as a red sunscreen. All such materials as clay bricks, exposed concrete, and corten steel can be recycled from and back into the earth.
Creating a facade of bricks like dried persimmons Chodang Village, an inland area adjacent to the fishing village Gangmun, has depended mainly on farming for a living with many old Korean traditional houses (Hanoks) remaining to date. All things taken together, the best material to build an exterior wall here in balance with the surroundings was clay bricks, thus used here as the material expected to create a neat facade in front of the roadside which is becoming urbanized more and more. Given this building is mainly west-oriented, bricks were laid as if to be dangling on the eaves in order to control the daylight at the owner’s and the rental units on the 3rd floor. Also, a small garden was designed with the honeycomb-bonded brick wall at the northwestern part of this building to create an enclosed but open-air space around the indoor stairs in the double-story retail rental unit as well as to demarcate different areas and prevent the noise from infiltrating into the corridor of multi-housing units. The honeycomb-bonded bricks were laid densely at the rental units, but gradually less towards the owner’s unit so as to evoke the image of dried persimmons dangling on the eaves in Gangneung.
Mixing housing, retail rental, and guesthouse units How this building is to be used by floors? On the 1st (ground) floor exist a restaurant space operated by the client and the rental cafe space leading up to the 2nd floor, where an open-air terrace can be used while a small garden is placed between the cafe and the housing units to create a space that can communicate with nature. For the rental housing, three units are placed at the southern part of the 2nd floor and one at the 3th floor, which are to be rented as one-person studios for the present but modifiable later to the function of a guesthouse. Finally, the client’s house is placed on the 3rd floor with three skylights installed respectively at the main room, the living room, and the small room so that one can see the stars in the sky.