An area near Beomeosa Temple in Cheongryong-dong 471, Geumjeong-gu, Busan, has become a public gathering place. This is ‘Hama Village’, located in a concentrated area of duck restaurants, a common sight around temples, and the downward mountain path of Geumjeongsan (mountain) from Beomeosa Temple Entrance bus stop heading towards Beomeosa. Although it does not have a proper approach nor an official signboard, the winding mountain path leads to a stretch of field on both sides of a stream, café, and two houses. Its appearance is distinct from the adjacent house-turned restaurants and cafés. Taking a walk along the stream and the field, looking around crops and trees planted in great abundance there, one notices people busy taking pictures in small clusters. Some people cool down from the summer heat by resting on the benches and at the cafés dotted here and there.
This is a village in the upper regions of the Beomeocheon Stream, the Hama or Hamajeon, meaning a lower town that has emerged from a hemp production field, having provided hemp cloth to Beomeosa in the past. An old signpost stone indicates that it also includes the precincts of Beomeosa. The 2012 survey reveals that most buildings in this area have been renovated in a modern style and most residents run restaurants there. When the client for this project, dreaming of a rural life, discovered this site, strewn throughout the site was household waste, much like in other rural villages, ready to be incinerated, having been buried underground amongst remnants of chopped-down trees. Actually, there are a lot of restaurants in temporary buildings built over the stream, not only in Hama Village but also in the area of Geumjeong Mountain lying in Geumjeon-gu, Dongrae-gu, Buk-gu, and even Yangsan in Gyeongsangnam-do, and enforcement fines were imposed 740 times according to an article from 12 August 2016 of the Kukje Daily News, proving the serious conditions of the stream. Aside from this, All Citizen’s Geumjeongsan Conservation Association have confirmed that there were 96 illegal structures, 21 cattle sheds, 7 sports facilities, and 7 illegal waste landfills recorded around the stream area in November 2015. What kind of future can be shaped by a mountain village which has gone through such drastic changes?
The client that decided to lead a rural life in Hama Village has tried to seek changes through the assistance of Ko Sungho of PDM Partners. At first, what he wanted was a house with a field but according to the architect’s proposal he decided to open out the stream and field to visitors and to build a café and exhibition hall on the uppermost part of the site. In the meantime, the onslaught of typhoon Nakri to Hama Village in August 2014 shifted the beginning of this project. The record-breaking heavy rain amounting to 170mm an hour caused the flooding of the stream, which tore down the site and exposed waste buried underground. Subject to the situation of erased boundaries, even between the road and the site, the project began to recover from the damage of the natural disaster and the detritus of everyday life.
Sixty tons of garbage had to be cleared. Considering neighbouring vegetation, coniferous trees, Dogwoods, Korean firs, and spruces were planted in the area near the stream and the ridge to protect flooding and landslides in the valley. Since then, the stream is said to have stopped flooding. Barley was planted in the farm to preserve the original form of Hama Village. The image of this village has been documented by photographer Jung Bongchae. Subsequently, two residences, namely Su Am Jae and Go Yu Jae, a café and gallery called The Farm 471 have been built. They were planned with the intention of making the most of the topography of this area, replete with large rocks, and by utilizing the local material of the rock to create a space to cope with the cold. Su Am Jae and Go Yu Jae were built on the former site of the Duck restaurant and residence, with a typical terraced plan in the garden and farm in the front and the back of the house. A residence for four generations, Su Am Jae is made in a long L-shaped plan and three gardens. Equipped with a furnace and stone mortar, the outhouse for the client’s mother is designed for a traditional lifestyle and the large rocks found on the site have been embedded in the ground. Situated in the
greenbelt area, Go Yu Jae had to be planed on the site of the existing building. Skylight has been introduced to solve the issue of sufficient daylight and ventilation in the northward façade and a floor heating system has been introduced to cope with the cold in winter.
It is The Farm 471 that has helped to put this village on the map in the Busan area. The old pond, rock, and trees have been left untouched at the centre of the site and the building also has a terraced plan created around a courtyard. Indoor and outdoor spaces are designed to enjoy the surrounding landscape to the fullest in every season. Imagining the red flowers of the hemp plant, now a prohibited plant, blossoms in the past, and the architect chose red for the exterior colour of the building. It is most unexpected that many people seek out this café located deep in the mountains. Instead of the expected visits of mountaineers, it is crowded with poetry readings given by middle-aged women, by meetings, and by couples on dates. Especially at weekends, long lines form to find a seat in the café. Considering many duck restaurants are closed down due to a decrease in customers, it is clear that mountain villages require new programmes to replace restaurants serving health food and liquor.
From 2008 to 2009, the Busan Metropolitan Government carried out a Community Building project for the mountain village. The historical, cultural and natural heritage of the village was surveyed and rest places and spaces of various forms were introduced to improve the region. The Hama Village project can be regarded as an exemplar of a private-driven Community Building project for mountain village. The farm, valley, and mountain edges have been rearranged, and residences and the café are introduced here. Ko Sungho said ‘I hoped that three new buildings wouldn’t change the landscape much’, Duck village, formerly a village in the precincts of the temple has been changed into a place which allows people to enjoy beautiful natural environment by boosting maintenance of the area. I think that it is now time to dream of changes to other mountain villages, rare and neglected due to their low density. Those who move to a mountain village with the dream of returning to farm, find a quiet café along a winding road offering a healing aspect and seek history and culture there convince me of the fact that a mountain village can become healthier and more beautiful according to changes made in our thoughts and lifestyles.