Traditional single-family residential neighborhoods in Korea are rapidly transforming into apartment slums, and Hyochangdong district is not an exception. This once sought-for neighborhood has gone through plot fragmentations, insensitive developments of apartments. There are numerous problems associated with lack of parking, garbage disposal, and general unrest in maintaining the privacy of the residents. The client and the architect contemplated over whether to flee the neighborhood or to come with a creative solution that can overcome such difficulties projected from the site conditions. The site was already surrounded by mediocre low-rise apartment buildings and the “L” shaped land further created difficulty in siting a building that could have enough access to garden and daylight at the same time.
The site strategy was to push the guest wing further south so as to preserve privacy from the neighboring buildings, while at the same time creating a bridge structure connecting the main wing to the guest wing and dissecting the open space into two gardens with different characters. The east garden is also called the ‘Front Garden’ and is designed to become a ‘Forest’ mainly for viewing purposes. The garden will have dense vegetation of birch trees growing on gravel-paved land. The south-western garden is called the “Lawn” and is designed as a grass-covered backyard geared towards the family’s everyday use. This ‘Back Garden’ allows the outdoor to flow continuously into the main living room.