Daily Dose: Seoul Earth House

Add to TwitterBCHO Architects’ new Earth House in Seoul, Korea honors the life and works of celebrated Korean poet, Yoon Dong-joo. It’s built completely underground, yet two large courtyards open to the sky. These courtyards have earth walls and floors and connect to each room through the rest of the house. The resulting intimacy between nature and humans is what serves as a tribute to Yoon’s beloved poetry.

Earth House; Image ©Wooseop Hwang

Earth House doors; Image ©Wooseop Hwang

Earth House also inspires self-awareness by leading the occupant to accommodate the structure (doors opening from the courtyards to the adjacent interior rooms are small; people must change the shape and alignment of their bodies to pass through). With contemporary spaces designed to suit our every need (and whim), this is a concept requiring a mental, as well as physical, shift. Though homes are created to “serve” their residents, not every desire need be fulfilled – we can make concessions, too.

My favorite detail of the Earth House is the wood from a pine tree on site that has been cast into the concrete walls of the courtyards. BCHO says that “as [the wood] decays, it will host small plants and new life will arise with time.” BCHO also used minimal cement and lime for the walls so that they, too, can eventually return to the earth.

Earth House floor; Image ©Wooseop Hwang

I’ll leave you with a quote from BCHO Architects regarding their aspirations for the design of this home:

As Yoon’s poetry expresses hope for the future from times of great peril, which he tried to achieve through self-restraint and self-reflection, our hope is that this Earth House would be a house where we can reflect on ‘ourselves’ while living in the present era.

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