Welcome to our gallery featuring the innovative Ga On Jai home, designed by IROJE KHM Architects.
This unique structure was built to maximize land use, emphasizing an ecological connection, in an open and innovative way.
In order to improve privacy and security, the home was crafted with a unique introverted layout.
As we can see from the above image, the home has a unique courtyard design that opens up the center of the home to a space where the indoors and outdoors mix freely. The intricately angled architecture obscures a fluid, open interior design.
There are a few distinctly Korean concepts that inform this home. First is “Madang,” the Korean inner court at the center of the home. It’s a place where the home and its occupants can commune with nature in a healthy, livable landscape protected from the elements and public view.
Second is “Ru,” which means Korean-piloted architecture. This means a design language that reflects the surrounding environment, including the mountainous terrain that gives the roof its distinct shape.
That evocative roof curve is called “Cheoma,” and it’s a cantilevered design meant to appear as floating over the house, protecting it from the elements while hovering just out of touch. The open void created by the roof overhang is meant to evoke the dramatic sequence of strolling through a cave.
At center, the living room is a dynamic space full of picturesque views across the surrounding landscape toward the nearby mountains.
Upon entering the home, you’re surrounded by an oval patterned concrete wall, derived from traditional stone wall as a reminder of the home’s environmental roots. As it adapts to the topography, various staggered floor inner spaces were designed to connect in varying ways, producing an interesting experience for anyone strolling through.
The different spaces in the home are laid out in a dramatic balance of visual and spacial elements to create a dynamic, invigorating presence for the homeowners and anyone visiting.
This complementary adaptation to nature is a basic characteristic of Korean architecture, and has been translated perfectly into modern construction here.
Please note that we’ve divided our gallery by photographer with the names noted before each section.
Architect: HyoMan Kim – IROJE KHM Architects
Photographers: Sergio pirrone, Jong Oh Kim, Jeong Sik Mun
Design team: Kyung Jin-Jung, SeungHee-Song, SuKyung-Jang, JiYeon-Kim, EunJin-Sin, HyeJin-Kim, WooSin-Sim
Photos by Jong Oh Kim
This soaring aerial view of the home and surrounding neighborhood showcases the richly forested environment the home was built in, resting at the foot of vast mountains to the right.
Viewed straight from above, we see the courtyard opening dominating the visual presence, helping to blend the structure into its environment.
From a lower angle, we can see directly into various parts of the home interior via large windows. The interconnected, layered structure makes for a gradual journey from outdoors to indoor.
The main entryway leads down from street level to a protected patio area, surrounded by the oval patterned concrete. From here, one moves upward into and through the home.
Viewed from the large open space at the center of the home, we see the sprawling living room overlooking the surrounding countryside via massive floor to ceiling windows.
This upper tier within the grand open living room space acts as a discreet home office. The architecture here perfectly illustrates the open, tiered design of the home.
Pulling further back, we can see sets of lit shelving coves built into the walls, as well as a bevy of subtle recessed lights spanning the vaulted ceiling. The rich wood flooring here acts as a natural anchor for the bold white space.
Here’s a close view of the intricately crafted inner courtyard, a space where the natural and the expertly crafted collide to spectacular effect. There are manicured trees, water features, and rich wood platforms intersecting everywhere.
Photos by Sergio Pirrone
On the lowest level of the inner courtyard, we see the approach to the home interior via a series of overlapping stairs. The material variety here is astounding, with concrete, natural wood, steel, and boulders meeting lush green grass and the reflective glaze of windows.
The lengthy galley kitchen stretches between sets of large windows to the left, overlooking the courtyard, and smaller windows to the right, shaded by louvers for utmost privacy.
Through seamless interior glass doors, we see the kitchen and dining area, with multicolored chairs spiking the predominant white and natural wood color palette.
Moving back into the lower level of the home, we see a surprising change of tone, with industrial looking black panels covering the walls. This clearly delineates the lower level from the rest of the bright white and open plan home.
From the main living room, we can see the sprawling, multi-layered courtyard through full height windows. The contrast between sharp modern forms and natural environment is a centerpiece of the home’s design.
Through glass balustrades, we can see various layers of the home above and below this living room space. The prevalence of glass and open floor plans makes for a truly interconnected, yet layered, experience.
Here’s a secondary informal dining area overlooking the patio, with a built-in countertop at right. The immense amount of glass throughout the home makes for an abundance of clear visual lines.
The primary bath further continues the angular, glossy look of the interior with a massive white soaking tub at center, surrounded by mirrored cabinetry and smoked glass panels.
In one of the upper level bedrooms, we see a lengthy built-in desk with sleek white cabinetry, across from the bed set against the wall. The curved roof lines are apparent here, and the exterior view is afforded by perfectly shaped windows reaching floor to ceiling.
Looking out over the inner courtyard, we can see the full breadth of the home structure and its myriad windows facing the green space. The layers of stairs, balustrades, and garden features create an interlocking and visually intriguing center to the home.
In an intriguing twist, one side of the home exits toward an exterior, raised patio that overlooks the surrounding neighborhood. This space is wrapped in smoked glass balustrade for increased privacy, and features a flooring of interlocking wood and grass spaces.
At night, the courtyard sparkles with the glow of dozens of subtly recessed lights dotting the landscape from top to bottom. The gorgeous interplay of natural and sculpted forms makes for a visually arresting space.
Viewing across the length of the courtyard, we can take in the breathtaking layered appearance of the design, mixing glass, steel, grass, and white walls beneath a subtly enveloping roof in black.
From just below the roof, we can see the way the densely planted sets of trees and grass blend with the architecture for a truly adventurous experience.
Photos by Jeong Sik Mun
Now we return to the lower entrance space for another look at the traditionally styled concrete walls and rich wood flooring. Stones embedded in the entry steps emphasize this latent connection to nature.
As seen from the street, the home is mostly buttoned up and private, with a low stone wall surrounding the property and the black roof structure soaring over the white building.
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