This house sits on a 232sqm site located in Pangyo new town, on the outskirts of Seoul, where more than 1,500 similar-sized housing lots are planned. ‘Muyidong (無異同)’ was designed to accommodate two families with four members each. It is a building with two independent houses in a row for two close households often gathering together. The name ‘Muyidong’ takes its meaning from Buddhist concept ‘neither same, nor different’. To preserve privacy of two families, the building is separated into two -‘E-house and W-house’, with less private staircase inbetween. As a result, the side-by-side masses share one common wall dividing the staircase. By turning the second floor of W-house into a four-meter cantilevered structure, children’s rooms are floating over the two-car parking lot. On rainy days kids can play and dads can do their carpentry work underneath.
Despite the small volume for two families, usable space gets maximized by; making the first floor flexible enough to be used as a living-room, dining-room, guest-room, meeting-room, play-room, and so on; creating children’s zone on the second floor as a three-dimensional play space by connecting the kids’ rooms, attic, and corridor; utilizing the ‘common room’ in-between two houses in various ways as a theater, lecture-room, play room, laundry-drying room, and so on. The roof garden is also an expansion of the common space both families can gather for barbeque, farming, picnic, and snow sleighing when it snows.
A three meter-long island sink and dining bar occupies the midst of the first floor and extends its line towards the living room. When parents are cooking or dining inside, they can see their kids playing in the yard. Wooden sliding frames finished with traditional Korean paper divide the first floor space into two, creating a cozy little dining room or a bedroom for guests. Each kid’s room is only 2.4 meter-wide and 3 meter-long. With their sliding doors open, however, playing zone expands to the corridor where kids can jump, run, and draw whatever they want on the wall with whiteboard finish. Furthermore, three different levels in their rooms – floor level, +1.25m mid-floor level, and +2.5m attic level - expand the volume of the rooms not only by width but by height as well creating a three dimensional play space. Kids can reach the attic directly from their rooms and also from the corridor by climbing a rock-climbing wall. Attic is open to the corridor so that parents can watch and talk to their children up and playing. Way to the roof in a typical house is merely a simple narrow dark staircase. In this house, however, the staircase connecting the second floor to the roof was designed as a ‘multi-functional common room’. All other stairs of each house are independent and private, but this ‘room’ is a ‘common’ area where two families can meet, play, and watch movies together. It is also used as a lecture hall, and a perfect location for air-drying laundry during weekdays. Treads and risers here are 50 centimeters, and ordinary stairs lies in between the big ones.