Kim Seongryul graduated from Dongseo University and Pusan National University Graduate School and opened his office Rieuldorang in 2013 based on 10 years of practical experience. He also served as an adjunct professor of Architecture at Dong-Eui University. He is trying to communicate with the public as a ‘Laboratory for daily life Architecture’ member. He designs the design methodology based on his research on creative thinking, and is experimenting with various architectural languages. In recent work, there are Baomaru, Cheongdo and Yangsan Multiple House.
Outside of Architecture
Oh Sinwook(director, Architects Group RAUM)
Indifference About the Context
The outside is a paradoxical and frustratingly abnormal place. Being on the outside means there is something else inside and offers a view of what is inside. Additionally, the outside of an architectural structure is a place that we cannot fully or completely own. Because the outside always maintains a certain distance from us, we can narrow that gap by forming relations with the inside and its surroundings.
From the outside, this house displays a strong image, standing as a two-story high brick cube. It seems there was no consideration of the relationship to its surroundings. This house appears to be indifferent to forming relations with the surrounding context, scenery, terrain, and skyline, which are typically relevant to the development of any work of architecture. It appears that the house intentionally blocks off the fundamental relations architecture should strengthen. Although the few openings punctured into this rectangular mass may seem to serve as a means of bonding with the surrounding environment, by taking a closer look you are able to see that they strongly deny any substantial relationship.
Establishing connections to the surroundings is a significant task because architecture co-exists with people, nature, and neighbours. Why did the architect, who must know this, endeavour to refuse such relations? The architect did not utilise the site’s form, road’s axis, nor the neighbourhood’s flow or natural topography in his design. Yet, he illustrates the story he wants to tell to the surrounding environment like a menace, which is why this house provokes one’s curiosity from the outside. From the perspective of creating relations, the house may seem belligerent. However, after the completion of the house, the outside provides a hint to what the architect’s intention for the ‘Botong House’ might have been.
Along with the building’s exterior, the interior was also inattentively finished from the aspects of construction, technique, materials, and detail. To this house, detail, which many architects ponder and obsess over, is insignificant, as observed in the joint connection of the external bricks and materials of indoor space, the trimming of the joints, its symmetry, the outside structure viewed from the indoor window.
The architect who tells the story of Botong House has accomplished something different instead of something ordinary. The project would have been more satisfying if the house could have maintained an intimate relation to its environment while also refusing to be typical. Additionally, it would have achieved a greater visual impression and a paradoxical status if the relationship between the artificial exterior surface and the indoor space, and between the inner volumes, was more intimate.
This house appears to be indifferent to forming relations with the surrounding context, scenery, terrain, and skyline, which are typically relevant to the development of any work of architecture.
Although the few openings punctured into this rectangular mass may seem to serve as a means of bonding with the surrounding environment, by taking a closer look you are able to see that they strongly deny any substantial relationship.
Botong House as a Schema
A schema, the organisation of unfinished mental images formed during a thought process, can be distinguished from ‘concept’. A circle in concept is 2πr (a collection of dots maintaining an equal distance from the centre). The schema is the images of various round shapes that immediately pop up in your head.
In terms of exploring the concept and schema of a house, the concept is more difficult to define compared to a circle. What is the generic schema of a house? When we think about a house, many forms and images collectively come to mind. Some would imagine a pointy roof house, while some might think of a cottage or cave. When one of these various possibilities is selected and built, the schema of a house becomes a diverse house in reality. Many architects go through this thought process in architecture design. Kim Seongryul’s Botong House seems to have been elaborated based on such logical system. Especially, when assuming the schema of the average person regarding houses and the schema of the architect on Botong House, we get a clue of how the forms and related spaces were created.
The architect explains the surrounding conditions of the site as ‘a village with rows of houses as typically seen in the United States’ and that he ‘built the house like any other house but binds it with brick walls of geometric form’.
What schema is embedded in the form of the Botong House? As the architect has explained, his schema is distinctly different from others. In this project, the architect entraps the schema of typical houses with the schema of Botong House that he studied and pursues. He paradoxically emphasises the bold form of the house by using the word botong (typical). Kim Seongryul uses his schema (bold, two-story building with geometric walls) and adjusts new forms and images to differentiate his work from the general perception of forms and images on houses. Botong House refuses to be a typical house familiar to others in order to become the strong house that holds the architect’s passion. Meanwhile, the architect seems to admit deep down the uniqueness of the exterior structure given that he elucidates the inner layer of the outer walls as similar to the average house.
The architect elucidates the inner layer of the outer walls as similar to the average house.
There are hints of the architect’s efforts to build relations between the architect’s thinking about a typical house and what is average. The boldly perforated (the schema of a house of the average person) opening, entrance, and courtyard takes on a typical form and image of a house, yet a new space is created with the touches and thoughts of the architect, which are transfigured into the intaglio roof. The house itself shouts out that the architect and ordinary people have a different idea of what is ordinary.
One cannot help shake the thought that the house would have been more perfect if the architect had explained with greater clarity and sophistication the architectural language, details, and conspicuous relations in this house of a particular exterior form (refusing to be average) and an indoor space of a conventional form. However, the architect acknowledges such differences appear to be making a statement about something more by exposing these discrepencies in the Botong House.
Oh Sinwook is the director of Architects Group RAUM, and has a Ph.D that researched the meaning and function of the ‘schema’ in architectural design. Some of his key projects include the Half House, O+A Building, Inter White, and Morning Dew Guesthouse. He was awarded the Korea Rising Architects Award in 2015 and the Korea Architects’ Award in 2017.
The architect uses his schema (bold, two-story building with geometric walls) and adjusts new forms and images to differentiate his work from the general perception of forms and images on houses.
The boldly perforated (the schema of a house of the average person) opening, entrance, and courtyard takes on a typical form and image of a house.
Architect: Rieuldorang (Kim Seongryul)
Design team: Lee Hansae
Location: Manhwa-ri, Dudong-myeon, Ulju-gun, Ulsan, Korea
Site area: 418㎡
Building area: 83.43㎡
Gross floor area: 144.25㎡
Building scope: 2F
Building to land ratio: 19.96%
Floor area ratio: 34.51%
Structure:: light wood framing structure
Exterior finishing: cement brick, Flextex fissure
Interior finishing: hardwood floor, eden bio wallpaper
Mechanical and electrical engineer: JS ENG
Construction: Manbull Construction
Design period: July 2016 – Apr. 2017
Construction period: May – Sep. 2017
Client: Bae Seongjae
edited by Park Sungjin | photographed by Yoon Joonhwan | materials provided by Rieuldorang