bordered by the sori-san mountain range in korea, the U retreat by heesoo kwak from IDMM architects sits at the core of the sari-gol valley in hongcheon-gun daegok-ri. looking down on the site from as little a distance of 40 meters, a sharp vertical cliff stretches at an altitude of 100 meters. the scale of this geological formation, pinned down by enormous stones, and the vitality of the flourishing vegetation within it totally overwhelm the surroundings. 

IDMM architects u retreat hongcheon korea designboom
pilotis and cantilever are adopted to deal with the conditions of the irregular ground level
all images © kim jaeyoun

 

 

hongcheon-gun (洪川) daegok-ri(垈谷), which literally means ‘wide lake’ and ‘high mound’, is a name that alludes to the long persisting conditions of the land. the wind that passes through the valley forms a sense of movement which shakes the entirety of the cliff. the small gestures of the trees, each of which shake according to their weight, come together to form a flowing cliff. hence, IDMM architects have created jeongia — a space which is unified with nature by embodying the cliff’s movements and dynamics. by doing so, the users are liberated from the confines of a typical household. 

IDMM architects u retreat hongcheon korea designboom
close up view of the zigzagging typology

 

 

the program of the jeongja is rest, play, and retreat in nature; like the image of the cliff and assembly of trees, the residence is composed of different ‘organisms’ that have been transposed to architecture. in other words, the design of each unit borrows the motions generated by wind, water, vegetations etc.. furthermore, reflecting the minimal space that each tree occupies, the unit is ultimately restrained in its contact with the ground to liberate the architecture from the existing irregular slope. 

IDMM architects u retreat hongcheon korea designboom
overview of the IDMM architects U retreat

 

 

on the other hand, the enormous screen on the steep site borrows the concept of heights — which is intimately linked to the character of the cliff. this quality is applied to each unit, so that users may enjoy the surroundings at a variety of levels. each skipped unit results in various retreat places, diverse leveled interior spaces, skipped terraces, a private pool and spa.

IDMM architects u retreat hongcheon korea designboom
elevation view

IDMM architects u retreat hongcheon korea designboom
the program of the jeongja is rest, play, and retreat within nature

IDMM architects u retreat hongcheon korea designboom
the large scaled architecture mirrors the overwhelming dimensions of the natural surroundings

IDMM architects u retreat hongcheon korea designboom
outdoor jacuzzi 

IDMM architects u retreat hongcheon korea designboom
outdoor spa and terrace area connected to the indoors

U retreat by IDMM architects weaves through the sari-gol valley in korea
accommodations are harmonized with proposed programs

U retreat by IDMM architects weaves through the sari-gol valley in korea
units have diverse heights that make users enjoy the natural surroundings at various levels

IDMM architects u retreat hongcheon korea designboom
lighting spots highlight the architectural geometries and patterns

IDMM architects u retreat hongcheon korea designboom
skipped bedroom leads users to experience a continuous space within one unit

IDMM architects u retreat hongcheon korea designboom
seating area naturally generated from various internal steps

 

 

 

 

project info:

 

architectural design: heesoo kwak and IDMM architects
location: hongcheon, republic of korea
date: 2016

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: lea zeitoun | designboom