JHY architect & associates - Cheonkyungjae

Chungkee Lee, Suenghyun Yoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using a dramatic contrast in order to demonstrate how small humans really are, Spanish sculptor Eduardo Chillida has carved an empty space measuring 65 × 49 × 45m inside Mt. Tindaya, expressing the monumental spectacle of conceptual depth. Chillida justifies his sculpture by asking himself the essential question, 'I want the mountain, but now I must ask myself: Does the mountain want my sculpture?' Artists often dream of communicating with wider society, by suggesting their unique artistic spirit possesses its own distinct consciousness. If architecture is symbolic of a particular era or society, architects, much like artists, dream of communication within such a clear sense of divided consciousness. Architecture, however, is subject to the demands that must be met by various solutions and roles, according to place and environment, form and space, programme and function, artistic sensibility and technology, and the people whose lives are meant to be negotiated between these governing elements. Most of these things tell a different story, however, as architects seek to create syntheses that incorporate all demands and conditions by striking a subtle harmony between parts and whole, while undergoing a painful process of astute attention to every subject and factor, to ensure that nothing is excluded. They constantly question themselves to ensure an understanding of all individual subjects and the communication between them. Cheonkyungjae was built to provide a lifelong home for a family of five on a sloping greenfield site, measuring 330m2 on a residential plot between Guryongsan Park and a local neighborhood park. It must have prompted a large number of diverse questions for its architect. Why would the family as the client have chosen to reject the convenience of an apartment and decided instead to build a house? How might the green natural space of the site and the various natural views that unfold to the southwest of it be tied in with the space of the house itself? What should become of the three-metre difference in height between the road and the top of the sloping site? How might the project relate to the neighbors on each side and to the rest of the neighborhood? What might be the purpose of each room and how may the rooms relate to one another? How may the light, space and views be combined? How might the inhabitants' lifestyles be blended into the space? How might the external and internal spaces be defined and related? What do the materials used to clad the exterior lend to the character of the building in terms of quality and structure ? or what are they supposed to lend to it? And can all these conflicts and questions really be brought together and fused to create unity within diversity? If so, how does this alter my own unique consciousness and methodology as an architect? Cheonkyungjae is probably the result of the architect's own unique study of these questions. The detailed consideration and design struggles that have emerged from his hard efforts are visible in various parts of the house: the design of the front gate, with its opening at eye level; the way in to the grounds-with its sense of depth as it leads through to the mountain behind and dramatically presents refreshing views of the natural scenery; the architect's special way of connecting aesthetics and space that becomes tangible when we encounter the majestic view into the distance, upon opening the double doors of the entrance hall; the understanding of shared family space demonstrated by the way the living space and master bedroom face each other across a shared central courtyard; the view onto the nearby hill to the north that unfolds upon climbing the steps. Features such as the visual expansion of space, through corner windows and the cleverly designed interior, which uses mirrors to make the given space seem twice as great, in spite of the small original dimensions, serving to enrich the interior of the house. It is a shame, however, that this intense enthusiasm on the part of the architect has not been brought together into a refined, crystalized whole. These regrets, when it comes to detailed spatial development, complete formal composition or scale extended to the level of the neighborhood, are probably an inevitable result of taking on each individual demand and question with too much intensity. However, I want to ascribe these things to the growing pains of a young architect. From another angle, they could in fact be regarded as the rights of a young architect. And without such creative intensity, there could be no reflection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-105
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Apr 2013


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