Prelude Polygonal lots have many stories behind them as much as their various shapes. They are usually filled in the most commercial and efficient forms through several expansions and renovations carried out when there were no clear regulations for parking spaces. I could not randomly renovate any part of the 30-year-old building because its interior partitions were filled with cheap cement bricks that would collapse even with minor vibration. The client, who left this building 10 years ago to stay in an apartment, has decided to return to this building that cherishes history. She raised children here 30 years ago and wanted to write the final chapter of her life closer to nature while remembering her past memories. Along with client’s herstory, the remodeling decision is often made because of realistic reasons. Reconstruction takes too much cost and the building will be like a chicken run when the current parking lot restrictions are considered. The garden on the first floor would have been replaced with parking spaces and the 30-year-old gingko trees and persimmon trees would have been sacrificed. The client began this project to cherish past memories in this old garden.
The Memories of Time Space cherishes the memories and footsteps of time. Perhaps, the true image we feel is not in the imagination, but in the essence of touch, smell, and physical memories. The essence of remodeling is unraveling the memories of time and newly reinterpreting them in the modern sense. In other words, it is not just about adding the required features, but reinterpreting the meaning of time to give new value to it. Here, material properties are the aesthetic of gap and inconsistencies between the meaning of existing materials and newly added materials. How to show and how to hide? This question asks how the depth of sentimental memories should be converted into multilateral spaces. This is the physical gap and semantic derivation from expressing the accumulation of time in a space.
The Building with No Parking Space This building has a unique space layout created under Korea’s architectural law from the 70s. At that time, the parking lot regulations did not affect the shapes of buildings very much. If it were today, the garden would have been dug up to make parking spaces under the strict parking lot regulations. Paradoxically, this 30-year-old building could preserve a beautiful backyard thanks to the old parking lot regulations. That is how this unique building was built with a small house with a backyard, a retail space on the 1st floor, and rental homes on the basement and on the 2nd floor. For the client, it is more reasonable to remodel the existing building rather than building a new building under the current parking lot regulations.
EGG and Pentagon The pentagonal mass of the existing building is very unique. The main concept of this project was to take advantage of this pentagonal shape to connect the roof to the garden in uniformity. The egg was the geometric shape that could be created with this polygon and a very fun story for the client. The identity of this building could be read as a shape of an egg on Google Earth’s Top View and the lines on the egg could be divided into top and bottom for different interpretations from people’s perspectives. It appears like an egg from one perspective, but the roof consists of the rooftop deck and the bottom extends to the garden in separation.
Born in 1933 and Lot No. 33-3 Could this be a coincidence? The client was born in 1933 and the building was located at 33-3. The number ‘3’ was a critical keyword that linked the building to the client. In this aspect, ‘3’ was attached to the surface of the building as a pattern that represents the history of the family. It serves as a secret code and a variation to the monotonous exterior. It is perceived as a pattern that gives variety in the street view, but the number ‘3’ can only be seen from a certain point where you can see the entire building. Here, meaning becomes figurations and patterns are abstracted.
Reconfiguration of Garden The client decided to live in the compact residential space on the 1st floor. This residential space consists of a master bedroom, an extra bedroom, and a living room open to the garden. The living room and the master bedroom are open to the garden to bring in the change of season and connected to the deck in the garden. The garden has a fence to visually isolate the inside from the surrounding buildings for the privacy of garden. The view from the inside is very open and rectangular preservative wooden louver was reprocessed into rhombus shapes for the fence design that allows natural ventilation and sunlight.
Epilogue Remodeling a 30-year-old building takes much effort. You are entitled to encounter many unpredicted problems and the salts from old walls take much time to repair. The client and the contractor had to put too much energy into the endless issues and minor arguments in this process. The amount of efforts required was as complicated and unpredicted as the length of time the building has endured. However, remodeling is still valuable because the arduous process makes it possible to reinterpret past memories in the present terms and give new value to the space. Space remembers and reenacts time.