The 4th house; compact yet maximized?; Paju House
The family consists of a grandmother in her 80s who had a stroke on the way to the toilet outside and now is in the hospital, a father who is a non-regular worker and works till late every day, and a middle school adolescent daughter who is always left home alone and is the first subject of concern for the family. Thanks to Illegal extension works, the house has a ㅁ-shape, yet its building area is only about 13 pyeong.
Though the area was only 13 pyeong, from the start, the project had to face with a task of securing a maximum space for the family of three. As the original access road had a width of less than 4m, new construction was not available. Such a circumstance forced to lead the project like a reconstruction project. The original building area must have been kept, and so was the height.
A grid system is implemented as a measuring tool not to lose even 1cm, and this has resulted in the house’s meticulous design. The smallest among 6 houses is this house with an area of 13 pyeong. However, it can be said to be a house unfolding the richest spatial narrative. Though it’s a new construction, it’s designed in the way of reconstruction due to the issue of access road. Such a situation puts limits on manipulating building area as well as height and made the design process difficult. It took two whole rounds of design process to complete the house with difficulty. Also, in many areas from architecture to interior, various attempts are made.
Mass in Mass
The implemented concept was ‘volume-in-volume’; one space has another small space(attic) within itself, and a living room puts out another space(pergola) toward outside. The house space is regarded as a cube, not a 2D plain. A typical design method using volumes is applied to create an attic. For the daughter, a secrete fortress-like room is designed. The floor level of toilet is lowered to a minimum level to place the attic above it. On the other hand, various outdoor spaces are proposed, such as a pergola in the courtyard, a private terrace attached to the daughter’s room, and a multi-purpose room in front of the kitchen.
Minimal living space
13 pyeong is not large enough to accommodate a family of three, yet it’s not too small either. Compared to the houses in Japan, our neighboring country, we must admit that our houses have quite large floor areas yet.
Le Corbusier died in his vacation home(Cabanon) with an area of 4 pyeong. If the legendary architect thought 4 pyeong is large enough for his house, this house isn’t small at all.
A life that rejects all empty formalities and ostentation and lives with nature in a minimal space was what he might have wanted to suggest.
Le Corbusier was inspired by the measurements of a cabin on a transatlantic cruise. The cabin had a size of 3m x 3.15m and a total floor area of 3m x 5.25m which is 15.17m2. Though the space was compact that much, he could feel enough comfort and freedom and agree with that the space is efficient and economical. Therefore, if you implement Le Corbusier’s modular theory, you will gain a pleasant enough floor area even in a compact space. This means you should use the measurements of human body to determine appropriate dimensions for a given space. After experiencing a minimal living space designed based on the measurements of human body, he came to have conviction that, if he applies the same dimensions to a house, he would come up with a more compact and efficient living space.
The original linear arrangement plan is preserved not to damage the linear flow of neighboring alleys. While keeping the original linear flow of the house and alleys, the house’s entrance is slightly set back and then positioned near a road to have room for a courtyard on the south. The front side is not fenced with walls to relieve the stuffiness of alleys and to enhance efficiency in using space for the small house.
13 pyeong has a different meaning to apartment units and general houses. Houses can expand their interior space through outdoor spaces, thus a house with an area of 13 pyeong provides a larger space to use. The pergola in front of the living room is an extension of another living room as well as a versatile space. Its roof system works as a shade and allows to use the outdoor space anytime. Appearing next to the porch, a small pocket terrace doesn’t count toward the floor area, but it can be used as a multi-purposed room linked with the kitchen. An outdoor space next to the daughter’s room shares the same concept. These various outdoor spaces give richness to the house and make this house with a small area look two times larger.
Though it doesn’t count toward the floor area, with an aim to enable this small house with an area of 13 pyeong to use its courtyard of like a living room, a transformable blind system is applied to the roof. This roof system is from Australia and can withstand up to a wind speed of 117km/h and a snow load of 30cm. For Korea which has four distinct seasons, it’s a quite desirable system.
For the grandmother’s health, a diatomite board is used as a wall cladding because it’s a highly effective air cleaner, antibacterial agent, humidifier and deodorant, with an aim to provide a fresh and healthy environment. For the flooring work, a German-made environment-friendly bond is used.