Floating House | 호미파이 & homify
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hyunjoonyoo architects
hyunjoonyoo architects
hyunjoonyoo architects
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Floating House

Architects : Hyunjoon Yoo Architects

Location : Gangha-myun, Yangpyung-gun, Geonggi-do, Republic of Korea

Client : Kim Sungjin

Project Area : 195.52 sqm (main house), 59.5 sqm (guest house)

Project Year : 2007-2009

Photographs : Seunghoon Yum


The given land has beautiful scenery of South Han-River from the north. Meanwhile, the site is also visually polluted by bunch of restaurants and motels lining the street, especially the decadent neon signs of those shops at night.

The Client

The client is a couple in their fifties and sixties who is running an elegant Korean restaurant that has been built in a traditional Korean-style. The client wanted their private house in the given land about five minutes away from their restaurant. They especially wanted to overlook the river from a high level, at the three-storey height. Refer to the client’s close Feng Shui specialist, the circulation of the house was planned straightforward – no door facing the east and no inhabitable space on the southwest. They also wanted a study room, a guest house for their daughter’s family who visit them frequently and a big front yard with a barbecue place and a low-leveled swimming pool for their family, especially for their grandchildren. In general, the client sought for a house that gives a heavy and magnificent feeling.

Space Planning

The main focus for this house design is to obtain the diverse vista of Bukhan River from anywhere and any level of the house. For this, the house was located further north to get a big sunny yard in the south. The guest house was arranged in the south in order to restrict the view of the street. The guest house locating southward is uniformed with the outdoor fence, displaying some sort of image that the house is inserted into the thick fence. In order to get a view of the river from the yard and the guest house, the main building was elevated with the Piloti. The elevated house is finished with the plain roof where there is a roof garden from where people can enjoy the surrounding landscape on a higher level. As a result, the river is viewed from every part of the house.

To make the house look as big as possible by taking advantage of the current regulation, – a balcony with one meter width is not included in the total floor area – a one meter-wide balcony made of the same material as the main building was installed at the four sides of the house. By doing so, the interior space created some sort of illusion that it keeps expanding when it is seen from the inside of the building. Also, the Piloti space is even more expanded since the entire building is lifted for one floor. The columns of Piloti space are made thicker than usual in order to avoid it seem like a big-headed object as most Piloti space with small and minimal columns. Then, a waterspout was installed inside to make the first floor structure to look like a heavy rock with the black concrete which displays its massiveness. The use of black concrete created an image of Korean traditional house which reflects the client’s Korean-style restaurant.

The plan depicts the quality of “space within a space.” The service space such as a bathroom, a dress room and a kitchen was gathered in the middle and compactly distributed while a bedroom was placed in the east, a living room in the west and a corridor on the edge. For the inner space to appear larger than its actual size, a circular traffic line was adopted instead of one main traffic line. The circular traffic line was made with a minimum width to differentiate the intensity of the space although the space does not seem compacted since the traffic line extends to the terrace, which creates a visual connection between the spaces. Since the stairs to the roof garden is made as if it is inserted to the second floor, the staircase does not protrude on the roof floor. The staircase itself is served as a light well, bringing light to the lower level of the house.

Relation Network Design

Architecture is to design a relationship. There are three kinds of relationship: physical relationship, visual relationship, and psychological relationship. “Physical relationship” is a relationship in which a person looks an object that can be reached. The example is the space where a person can communicate through a gate, a corridor, a road, or a bridge. “Visual relationship” means a relationship in which a person can look at an object but he/she cannot reach it. When a person looks at the ground across the river that has no bridge and if he/she communicates with that place through a window from a place that has no door, then it is the visual relationship. “Psychological relationship” is the relationship in which a person cannot go over or look at the object, but he/she recognizes the presence of the object. When a person is in a place that has no window and if he/she knows that there is a room beyond the wall, then it is defined as the psychological relationship.

In this house, these kinds of relationship were created through the traditional “rooms,” such as living room, bedroom, roof, staircase, kitchen, or bathroom. For example, the study room and the kitchen were divided by a staircase but connected through a small window. The bathroom was connected to the sky through the window on the ceiling and connected to the staircase that leads to the roof at the third floor through the window. Also, a person can look at the river through the study room while he/she is taking a shower or bath. In the living room, there are same-sized windows on the top and bottom to provide a wormhole-like feeling to the parallel structure. Through this mechanism, a visual relationship was formed on each floor. The windows and doors all over the place were devised to create various relationships in the simple mass-shaped house.