on the Southwestern outskirts of Daejeon City in Seo-gu, South Korea, a new residential complex area has recently become home to the Urban Hamlet. This is a stunningly modern three storey home finished by Chiasmus Partners with the express purpose of putting a unique spin on all the needs and wants of a modern family with members of different ages and spatial requirements.
The house might have been commissioned by and designed with the parents, but it was absolutely conceptualized with the children’s needs and lives in mind. This is why all functional and private rooms are located on the ground and top floors, while the entire second floor exists as a unique and very diverse multi-purpose space to be used by the entire family however they need in the moment.
Beginning at the bottom, visitors approaching the patio will find it surrounded by a large garage and, through the front door, a living room, dining room, and guest room. When the family has guests who are not staying the night, this spare bedroom doubles as a quiet and pleasant tea room. This floor is where most of the functional spaces are located.
Moving up to the third floor (we’ll come back to that exciting second floor in a moment), you’ll encounter six bedrooms. Each of these is duplex in style, meaning that they adjoin in pairs like dorms. Surrounding the bedrooms is a lovely shared family room that extends through the rest of the floor, eventually opening onto a beautiful open terrace that features a jacuzzi and a long “floating” swimming pool.
The swimming pool is of particular note for the way it faces the mountains to the south, as well as for the way the glass plates in its bottom act as small windows, letting swimmers see the street below as they paddle. This isn’t the only cool rooftop space; each bedroom actually has its own accompanying little rooftop space. There’s also a larger rooftop space with a hammock that is often used for family gatherings.
The second floor of the house is intended to be an open-space, multi-purpose area where family members can do whichever activities they need space for. The ceiling of this floor is supported in its full weight by a central core, inside which is a staircase and and elevator, each of which will take you to and from each floor of the house.
This core is also put to good use on its outer surface too, rather than just inside. It is covered from floor to ceiling in media shelves, book shelves, and a television stand. It also features a fireplace for chillier nights, a projector screen, and even a desk! It truly is designed to be a space for all kinds of different people and purposes.
Beyond just giving the family member space to do their own thing, the multi-purpose floor is also designed to reinvigorate bonding and social time. It draws activities that have become isolated in modern families out of individual bedrooms occasionally and into a shared common space where people might spend time together, even if they are doing different things.
As the home’s name, Urban Hamlet, might suggest to you, the house is actually organized like a little village of its own. Each bedroom is designed to be like an individual’s house (complete with an adjoining neighbour). The multi-purpose floor, on the other hand, becomes like a town square where friend gather and people meet. This idea is literally reflected in the actual architecture of the house; from an aerial view, you might noticed that each bedroom has its own little roof, making the outside of the house resemble a walled village.
At the same time as it is clearly a priority to facilitate social spaces and family bonding, designers and owners alike wanted to give each family member a respectable amount of privacy as well. This is why the rooms are left like their own little worlds, individualized and closed without losing natural light. These elements make the house more of a community than a single faceted dwelling.
Besides giving the family amazingly modern social spaces to enjoy, it should also be noted that the outdoor rooftop areas and the open-air multi-purpose floor provide dwellers and guests stunning panoramic views of the surrounding neighbourhood and nature. It is classic Korean architecture to build a home that blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces and rooms of different functions, without sacrificing the privacy that families find ever so important.
Photos by Namsun Lee