House in Macheon is in a quiet and simple neighborhood in the south side of Hamyang, Kyeongnam. It’s an unusual place to view the Chun-wang mountaintop very clearly, as well as a street leading to the Jiri Mountain race course.
Jiri-mountain is called Mother Mountain for its gigantic dignity. Catching a glimpse, it looks easy to climb because it doesn’t look so tall, but actually it is steep and endless. The highest mountaintop is Chun-wang, which is 6,300 feet high.
There is a story that a Buddhist nun tried to build a temple on the site. In an instant that long shape would fit to a temple, but the depth looked too shallow for a temple. Macheon town is famous for luxurious black stones named Macheon, which are hard to see these days. But we could find tidy Macheon stones rolling around in the site. Just like stars in a dark sky, there were silver dots scattered on the black stones. We imagined making the stylobate out of these stones.
The owner wanted to build a small, modest "Korean house" that integrates in this land. "Korean house" was hard to define, so we accepted the concept as a "comfortable house." Actually, in Korea, we call Korean style houses as "our house." The word "our" has more of a meaning of familiarity and comfort than specific ownership or territory.
We usually met the owner at night or weekends, so the conversation went comfortably and pleasantly. Naturally, the design came out easily and softly, just like pulling out noodles.
When we finished the design and went to the site to place it on the land, we met some monks who were relatives of the owner. It transpired that they were very famous in the historic temple named Sil-sang in Jiri Mountain. As we explained the way we would place the building in the site, they gained a different opinion about the direction of the house.
In Korean architecture, we consider the feng shui as well as natural elements such as sunlight and wind. In feng shui, we call the mountain "Jusan" which means "too far from the house to view," and "Ansan" which is nearby and restful. After a long discussion, we decided to site the house to watch the most round and gentle one out of numerous mountaintops in Jiri Mountain.
The learned monk Yeon-gwan, who’s one of the three major monks in Sil-sang temple, gave the name to the house, "Gan-chung Jae." It means that this house is to watch the ume flower, to invite a friend to have a cup of tea, as well as to watch the moon outside the window.
We have a weird relation with Jiri Mountain. The first project of our firm was to build a house on the hillside of Jiri Mountain. After that, another site around Jiri Mountain came, and since then, another site arose again.
So we've been wandering around Jiri Mountain for years, and this was the first time to watch Chun-Wang mountaintop so clearly. The owner of Gan-chung Jae wanted a "Numaru" more than any other thing. Numaru is a unique space for Korean architecture, which is opened in three directions and below to enjoy summer. It sticks out from the front side of the house, just as a nose in a human’s face. In summer, we open the doors to enjoy the scenery of nature, and in winter, we close the doors to use it as a room. Numaru of Gan-chung Jae has the most magnificent view of this house, and also enjoys a cool breeze. Behind Numaru, we put a traditional Ondol room, which is a Korean floor heating system, by installing a hypocaust and burning firewood. Numaru is for warm southern regions, and Ondol is for cold northern regions. Since Korea has four distinct seasons, there are drastic combined forms of these two systems. We also resolutely put the Ondol system and Numaru together.
Today, there are few people wanting a traditional style of Numaru. We hung the prominent Numaru on the western timber construction, while applying two different heating systems: a traditional ondol system with hypocaust in a small room, and universal hot water heating on other rooms. In so doing, this house became a mix of past and present, multi-regional and multi-climatic under a single roof.
Architect : Hyoungnam Lim, Eunjoo Roh in studio_GAON Project Team : Sungpil Lee, Minjung Choi, Sangwoo Yi, Seongwon Won, Hanmoe Lee, Soyae Baek, Joowon Moon Photographs : Youngchae Park Translation : Joowon Moon Location : Changwon-Ri, Macheon-Myeon, Hamyang-Gun, Kyungsang-Do, South Korea Use : House Site Area : 995㎡ Building Area : 88.23㎡ (Main Building 70.23㎡, Warehouse 18㎡) Gross Floor Area : 96.24㎡ (Main Building 78.24㎡, Warehouse 18㎡) Building Scope : 1F+mezzanine Building-to-Land Ratio : 8.87% Floor Area Ratio : 9.67% Structure : Wood Frame Structure Construction : GeumGang Construction Co., LTD, Sangchul Lee Carpenter Workshop Design Period : 2012.9-2013.8 Construction Period : 2013.8-2013.11