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U RETREAT
Bordered by the Sori-san mountain range in South Korea, the U RETREAT sits at the core of the Sari-gol valley in Hongcheon-gun Daegok-ri. Looking down on the site from as little a distance of 40 meters, a sharp vertical cliff stretches at an altitude of 100 meters. The scale of this geological formation pinned down by enormous stones, and the vitality of the flourishing vegetation within it totally overwhelm the surroundings.

Courtesy of Heesoo Kwak and IDMM Architects – Photography: Kim Jaeyoun

Hongcheon-gun (洪川) Daegok-ri(垈谷), which literally means ‘wide lake’ and ‘high mound’, is a name that alludes to the long persisting conditions of the land. The wind that passes through the valley forms a sense of movement which shakes the entirety of the cliff. The small gestures of the trees, each of which shakes according to their weight, come together to form a flowing cliff.

Courtesy of Heesoo Kwak and IDMM Architects – Photography: Kim Jaeyoun

This project has been asked by a retired businessman from the fashion industry. For a retired life, he wanted a unique and meditative accommodation located in a deep valley. The important point of this project was how local small accommodations, so it called as “Pension”, can be architecturally evolved. To do so, I conceived an individual interpretation of nature and an analysis for diverse views from the position of guests to extract a new spatial experience.

Courtesy of Heesoo Kwak and IDMM Architects – Photography: Kim Jaeyoun

It varies from families for one night trip to couples for a date. All of them want to take a rest at a fancy space without any disruption. They can experience a new spatiality via multi-leveling floor plan that living room, main bedroom, Korean style bedroom, bathroom, terrace, and spa are divided through different levels rather than partitions. The reason of multi-leveling is that various levels can offer the diverse relationship between guest and natural scenery, which enables a colorful appreciation for the nature.

Courtesy of Heesoo Kwak and IDMM Architects – Photography: Kim Jaeyoun

Mountain viewed from the site delivered the image of flying solid mass. Also, I expected that oblique lines made by concrete mass can contrast with irregular and varied lines of the nature. In this respect, diagonal column and cantilever and upper and lower parts connected with twist generate active shapes harmoniously diversified with natural science.

Courtesy of Heesoo Kwak and IDMM Architects – Photography: Kim Jaeyoun

It is a kind of dealing with the hilly land through minimizing contact surface. This incidentally creates as if cantilever masses talked with a hilly land.U RETREAT is faced with a cliff on the opposite side. As if the cliff were a big picture altering seasonally. U RETREAT naturally embraces colorful scenes of the cliff via glass window and multi-leveled platforms of concrete. As a material, concrete can be neutral as a background of natural objects like trees, flowers, rocks and so on.

Courtesy of Heesoo Kwak and IDMM Architects – Photography: Kim Jaeyoun

Project Info
Architects: Heesoo Kwak and IDMM Architects
Location:  Gangwon-do, South Korea
Architect in Charge: Heesoo Kwak
Area: 1595.29 m2
Year: 2016
Type: Residential
Photographs: Kim Jaeyoun
Manufacturers: Eagon

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