In the mid-western part of the Korean peninsula, in Gyeonggi-do, lies an experimental housing project completed by Seoul-based architect Younghan Chung, principal of Studio Archiholic. The 9x9 House presents an opportunity to test new and eccentric expressions of contemporary lifestyle as it, beyond providing shelter, defies well-established privacy, comfort, efficiency and aesthetic norms within the realm of residential architecture. The unconventional nature of the design calls for an equally unconventional client – in this instance, a 70-year-old artist – willing to cope with a significant adjustment in dwelling habits, inherent in such an experimental commission. The architect’s desire to resort to innovative means of programmatic distribution led him to introduce a built-in furniture system which allows for the many appliances, storage units and other equipment to assist in the division of living spaces and the definition of specific areas. A streamlined sliding door conceals Studio Archiholic’s modular intervention and opens to reveal a series of functions enabling various programmatic configurations. While fluid and flexible, the layout also relies on fixed-wall partitions so as to ensure an appropriate level of privacy and security. This house, with its fairly modest 9 x 9 m footprint, is in line with Younghan Chung’s dubious stance towards the unequivocal protective duties of ‘the dwelling’. It actively engages in a clear impression of depth and porosity, and reaches for a highly-permeable domestic environment, widely exposed to the site’s natural features. Further pushing the reflection on an inventive perception of space, a number of skylights, along with an inner courtyard, filter natural light and allow for free-flowing living areas to physically extend beyond the normally well-defined boundaries of interior and exterior.
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