Last fall, I met a couple who wanted to renovate an old and rundown house situated in Hwanggeum-dong, Daegu. Due to their earnest wish to live in the house, they worked their socks off for a long ime and upon house-hunting discovered this old house and eventually managed to purchase it after persuading the original owner to sell it to them. This house is the first of its kind in the housing estate established in Hwanggeum-dong, overlooking the park surrounding the Children’s Center. The biggest advantage of this house is that it faces the south where the forest is directly in sight. Needless to say, since it was the first house built in the area, another advantage is that it has its own underground (whilst also serving as the ground floor level) parking space as well.
Initially, the owners wanted to build a new house on this lot. This was because the repair of the house would not have been an easy feat as it was very old and dilapidated, having not been well-maintained over the course of more than 30 years. However, if this house was to be demolished and a new one built in its place, the need to reclaim a large part of the land currently occupied by the roads would be problematic. In addition, the owners wanted as much as possible to continue maintaining the deeply rooted sense of unity given off by the housing complex due to its congregation of houses of the same type which had been maintained over a long period of time. Due to these reasons, the owners finally decided to go with renovation.
When commencing renovation works, it is imperative to first identify the strengths and weaknesses of the house to be fixed.Overall, the drawbacks of this house were so many and extensive that there was no point to list all of them down. The insulation, installation of HVAC systems, and even the structure itself were problematic. However, of these, the biggest problem was the lack of space for living in the house.
The house had an underground space (a basement) used as the garage, the first floor situated above the ground level and a second level that was only attic high. Among them, the basement had long been abandoned due to its high humidity, and the second floor was indeed not viable for living as it was too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.
There were also remains of rainwater leakage from the old roof. As a result, the only space that could be used for living was the first floor, yet the structure of the space was not efficient, and the heating was also not working in half of it.On the other hand, as was previously mentioned, apart from the locational advantage, there was also a total of three floors of space available for use, from the basement, to the first and second floors, which are advantages of this house.
Therefore, in order to fully utilize the space, we decided to first fix the front door in the basement parking lot (situated on the first level where one can enter directly from the road). After this, the entire interior of the basement was insulated with urethane, and thereafter, a double wall was put up to deal with the water coming off the moist walls. A porch and storage space were also created in the basement. As a result, the newly built entrance gives off a relaxing vibe, where there is also a storage space for a variety of play and recreational goods to be organized and stored into, right next to the porch.
Passing through the entrance, and climbing up the stairs to the first floor, there are the kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom, and master bedroom. Here, we used a curtain wall to segregate and create an outer terrace space contiguous to the kitchen and dining area. This space is the interior part which is not heated, physically located at the front of the house, thus making the house even closer to the park situated in front of the house. In addition, a pattern created using fabric was designed at the back of the curtain wall to simultaneously block outsiders from gazing into the house whenever the situation demands, and also to give the house a new look. The previous ceiling of the master bedroom was torn down and by making use of the new high floor heights, the owners’ personal loft space was created.
Lastly, for the owner couple who wanted a bright living room space, the ceiling of the living room dividing the two floors was removed, and a skylight was made on the roof to connect with the outside, drawing the sky into the house.
Going up one more floor from here onto the second floor, the space on this level was designated for three children. We decided to first take down the entire roof and replace it with one that was insulated and waterproof. Hence, the existing roof was demolished and in its place a new wooden structure was constructed, and the entire new roof was insulated with urethane, with its exterior coated in zinc. In addition, the inner walls on the second floor were all broken down with the intent of making it into a single large space for living, with a double-decker bed made instead to serve as a form of division.
During this process, steel beam works were carried out when necessary, at locations spanning from the basement to the second floor to reinforce the structure. In addition to reinforcing insulation, urethane was used in both the basement and the roof, and an external insulation system was also installed overall to the whole house.
To an architect, renovation is a difficult yet enjoyable task. The reason that it is difficult is because until the construction has completed, one has to constantly stay alert for numerous unforeseen contingencies, while the reason that it is enjoyable is because it is a very amazing experience to witness the whole process of transforming an old house into a new one.
The two contrasting emotions arising from the meeting of the old house with the new house and the new owner of the house, and then over time, changing and witnessing the life of the new owners’ family, gives off a new vibe when combined.
A house is where people live, and only when one continuously takes care of and tends to it, will it be able to remain in good condition even if it has aged after a long time has passed. As with this house too, even with the addition of the new owner family’s time on top of the past years it has been through, even as it ages in the future, it would be great if it did not become one that of a dilapidated old house but still remain in the same good condition it is now in.
Structure: Basement - Reinforced Concrete Retaining Wall Foundation Ground - Cement brick structure + H-Bim steel structure reinforcement Structural material: Wall - Exterior wall: Cement brick structure, Inner wall: 2x6 or 2x4 S.P.F structural wood, masonry wall Roof - 2×12 S.P.F structure wood + urethane insulation + OSB plywood + waterproof sheet + man brain Insulation material: wall - (part of 140mm urethane foam) + 100mm bead method heatsink Roof - 240mm polyurethane foam insulation Exterior wall finishing material: Wall - Parex Aquasol (white), curtain wall Roof - Real Zinc