studio_GAON has constructed a concrete hill-top house on the island of jeju, off the southernmost coast of south korea. the name of the house — yoojeongheon — means ‘wind stays, sunshine caresses’. an island rich in history, the house is just a short walk from the sea. the village is in close proximity to the historical birthplace of kim man-deok, a famous female figure from 18th century korea who became one of the region’s most successful merchants.

the studio wanted to build a house sensitive to the history of the island
all images by youngchae park



despite the elevation of the area, the surrounding views have become restricted in recent years due to the highly concentrated nature of construction in the area. this, coupled with a site of just 145 square meters, meant that for studio_GAON, economy of space became the forefront concern of the design. to remove any sense of claustrophobia, the ground level of the house is opened up, allowing for space and breathability in an otherwise compact urban environment. throughout the house there is a sense of fluid mobility. narrow corridors seem to suggest rather than dictate movement, creating a natural flow within a limited space. 

the site sits on a hill, facing the north port of the island



constructed from concrete, the house is designed to withstand the strong winds and adverse weather conditions of the island province, while also creating a space of calm and solitude. the studio’s original intention was to conceal the rough concrete exterior of the house with an alternate material, but ultimately favored an unfinished, coarse aesthetic. the resulting building gives the impression of having been hewn from the rock face, and is intended as a reference to the porous basalt native to the region.

an interior courtyard adds to the feeling of spaciousness



on the ground floor, a sun-filled atrium dramatically opens the building’s interior to the sky above. a plan incorporating few interior supports has produced an unburdened and welcoming entryway that, true to the house’s name, allows both the sun and sea-breeze to penetrate the building’s frame. an outer platform or ‘daechuhng’ links to the interior, and leads to a large reception room, or ‘sa-rang’, both of which are aligned so as to make full use of the nearby ocean view. 

glass doors protect the ground floor rooms from adverse weather



the use of sliding doors on the ground floor has produced a flexible space that can become expansive or intimate. the cosy, modern interior of the house is a pleasing contrast to its outside; a combination of wooden floors and white surfaces create spaces that are both composed and contemporary. a spiral staircase provides access to the rooftop, which includes a closed-roof terrace and allows for full appreciation of the island’s stunning views.

the studio choose to leave the face of the building untreated

traditional sliding doors make for flexible use of the reception area

the windows are set in black frames, giving a air of solidity to the design 

the decor is modern — a geometric lamp hangs in the white, minimal kitchen

windows cover the face of the building, making the most of the locations limited light

the living spaces are located on the second floor

a metal staircase leads to the roof terrace, with views of the surrounding area






project info


architect: hyoungnam lim, eunjoo roh in studio_gaon
project team: hanmoe lee, minjung choi, sangwoo yi, seongwon son, sungpil lee, joowon moon, kwangyeon cho, hyoseon hur, jaebeom kim
photographs: youngchae park
translation: kwangyeon cho, hyoseon hur
location: geonip-dong, jeju-si, jeju-do, south korea
site area: 145 square meters
building area: 69.21 square meters
gross floor area: 139.79 square meters
building scope: 3f
height: 9.0m
building-to-land ratio: 47.73%
floor area ratio: 85.85%
structure: reinforced concrete structure
finish: exposed concrete
construction: starsis
design period: 2014.05-2015.03
construction period: 2015.04-2016.02



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edited by: peter corboy | designboom