This home built by architects Risyo Building offers sturdy, low-maintenance living with a slightly industrial tone to match the edge-of-the-city setting of this family home in Korea. Covering 192 square meters and in a medium density area, the structure employs an L-shaped layout that creates much needed pockets of privacy from the surrounding busy world.
Here's a first glance at this brick L-shaped home (an interesting detail – L-shaped structures have a long history in Korean architecture. They were often used to separate the Sarangbang – a private men-only space used for studying, writing poetry, entertaining, and other leisure activities – from the rest of the home. Interestingly, they were often located opposite the women's area of the house).
The exterior is made of brick walls topped with an asymmetrical iron roof. The Sarangbang is easily visible as the white structure nearest the small trees. The L-shape of the structure is intended to give a natural separation between Sarangbang and the rest of the home, and in this application, you can see how, in a busy neighborhood, the L makes a space that's somewhat shielded, making a more private living space.
The dark grey brick may have a cold or standoffish appearance at first, but a more careful examination reveals plenty of fun personality in the exterior materials used in the home. Small grey rectangles of brick offer a fun contrast to larger, rougher rectangles in the reddish retaining wall, and a playful square checkered pattern in blue and white adds another layer to this fun geometrical theme.
What's more, the asymmetrically slanted roof tilts on a line that's close to parallel with the angle of the inclined street, making the blocky structure look like it belongs naturally on the hillside.
Where there could be a solid wall, the architects have chosen to create a square of outdoor space – not only does this give the Sarangbang its typical separation from the rest of the home, but it also offers an unexpected breath of fresh air within the structure. Matte grays and thick brick may leave you looking at this industrial exterior and feeling heavy, but this bright and airy cut-out lightens things up.
Notice how the windows have been carefully selected to offer similar square dimensions to those found in the open space – a neat way to provide continuity throughout the facade, and to carry on the geometrical theme seen in the previous shot.
The natural benefits of the location are finally revealed here in this photo that captures the dark, lush forest lying just beyond the hillside home. This view affords a stark contrast from the earlier photos showing the many contemporary houses dotting the neighborhood. At night, you can also observe how the home is very evenly-lit, creating a nice, moderate flow of light throughout the interior space (as you'll soon see below).
A fun side note – the rectangular block theme that you've seen on the street-facing side of the home is carried out in their own sidewalk as well, as playful hopscotch-like stepping stones lead from the street to the front door.
Nothing too elaborate here, just a humble, low, bench-style seat made from red-stained timber. A rock patio offers some organic shapes not found in the rest of the industrial style home, offering a clear contrast between more measured indoor areas, and more wild outdoor space. This bench has great potential as a play area for children, a mini-stage, a sheltered place to play when it's raining, or a quiet place to lay with a blanket and a good book – a versatile choice for a multi-functional family home.
The same cut-out space, seen from the opposite perspective, is a unique hybrid of indoor and outdoor space, with a combination of open sides that allow air to breeze through and a wooden ceiling whose circular lights give the
room an sheltered, indoor feel.
As you can see from this enclosed balcony, an L-shaped layout has the potential to provide all sorts of little openings that can be used to optimize viewing in the best spots. In an urban area, this secret balcony is a neat little frame for a slice of nature beyond, and with an open view of the sky, you can gaze up and feel that you're in your own little private retreat.
This children's bedroom is simple and practical. A calming blue tone covers the walls, a practical shade that – unlike a bright pink - won't have to be changed with the years as the child matures. Lengthy floor-to-ceiling curtains exaggerate the height of the far wall in the room, where the bed is cleverly placed nearest the large window, benefitting from the luminous energy that it provides.
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Here, the parent's room offers plenty of space for thought – high ceilings create a lofty space for peaceful nighttime dreaming. Although the room doesn't enjoy a window as large as the children's room, the bed in this space has also been placed near to the window in a practical setup that allows the parents to enjoy the sunshine. Once again, calming blues keep things relaxing and simple.
An observant onlooker will notice how the kitchen has been designed to quietly reflect the L-shape of house structure. Sturdy and practical, this kitchen affords no elaborate tiling, ornate handles, lattice work (etc!), but rather an array of glossy white cabinets, plenty of functional counter space, and a well-placed table that takes advantage of the window while enjoying a very sociable location next to the kitchen counter.
Here, a view out the window (gazing out at the white Sarangbang) emphasizes the full length of this living room - as do the horizontal supports creating strong, straight lines in the ceiling. The simple, well-lit layout is ripe with potential, and the addition of an area rug and a few friendly pieces of sleek, modern furniture would complement the no-frills space very well.
If you're intrigued by the geometric themes found throughout this family home, here's another tour of a modern and stylish family home featuring bold rectangular shapes and straight, clean lines.