Project: Seaside Wall House
Architects: KHY Architects
Location: Ujeong-Dong, South Korea
Area: 2,422 sf
Photographs by: Hwang Hyo Chel
Seaside Wall House by KHY Architects
KHY Architects have designed the Seaside Wall House as a weekend beach getaway for a family of urban dwellers who live in a high-rise studio apartment during the week, so naturally, they wanted something more spacious for the weekend. They got a beautiful contemporary residence with almost 2,500 square feet of real estate on a location with direct views of the coastline.
The thought of having a weekend beach house gives us special expectations for urban dwellers. Client was a married couple living in a high-rise studio apartment. They had contradictory wishes about how they wanted their new home to be on this special site. One was to actively face the beach, and the other was to be protected securely from it. These conflicting desires generated a certain way for us to define relations between the beach and this house. Consequently, we ended up with a house that has clear gesture of facing the beach and a nuance of protection from beach at the same time.
First, we placed a long wall and added short walls perpendicularly that forms spaces that solely face the ocean. These structural walls stand independently dividing and connecting spaces of different sizes and shapes. The house, therefore, is provided with a rich variety of sceneries between different walls. Sequence of house starts from penetrating long solid walls towards short walls, and continues when climbing upstairs by curved walls or walking on a bridge from a wall to another.
These walls suggest an enthusiastic attitude to view ocean. Openings, in this case, is not perceived as a window, but sensed as an exterior experience as if one is standing outside between vertical barriers. Therefore the walls extend the sense of being inside towards the beach that fades distinction between inside and outside.
Meanwhile, the finishing material and shape of these walls act as a nuance of protection. Like wings of mother birds, the incurved walls form a shelter for dwellers. This slight gesture of curved walls shields inside dwellers from outside eyes. Finishing materials are bright toned dried mud bricks. These bricks represent the structural role in the building, implying the image of thick mud wall. Light falls gently on this material, bringing out the delicate texture of soil particles. According to time of the day, distance between walls, or shape of a wall, light casts soft or heavy shadow that deepens the gaze towards the beach.
By the time sun starts falling, daylight is invited all the way down to a void space placed on second and third floor from skylight. Since west side of the wall is solid without any openings, tiring rays from west is blocked. Hence, indirect light washes a marble finished wall of the void and gently brightens lower floors.
Exterior has two contrasting looks from the back and the ocean. Rear side of the house stands is flat with a firm and reliable presence. In contrast, the front shows clear stance of opening and facing towards the beach. This facade facing the beach has an ever-changing figure according to sunlight that treats the house differently as weather changes. This weekend house looks as if it is looking at the ocean even when it is empty.