Vernacular Versatility

Vernacular Versatility

Yong Ju Lee
Shinchon, Seoul, South Korea

Winner of the 2014 eVolo Skyscraper Competition Vernacular Versatility

Yong Ju Lee as Architects

Vernacular Versatility has won the 2014 eVolo Skyscraper Competition whose aim is to recognize outstanding ideas for vertical living through the novel use of technology, materials, programs, aesthetics and spatial organization. Chosen among 525 projects from 43 countries around the world, the project is a reinterpretation of traditional Korean architecture in a contemporary mixed-use high-rise.

The inspiration

Hanok is defined as antonym of western house and synonym of house of Korean style. Hanok is featured by its own wooden structure system and tiled roofs. The edge of Hanok's curvy roofs accomplishes its strong formal gesture. The lengths of the roof edge can be adjusted to control the amount of sunlight that enters the house. The form and structure consisted of wood is exposed in exterior and interior of this system. The core structural element is wooden connection - Gagu, right under the roof where column meets beam and girder without additional fastener such as nail. And this connection also characterizes aesthetic of Korean traditional architecture.

Historically this structure system has been developed exclusively in plan, applied only to one-story residence, even there were some higher unoccupiable structures with this system as a religious symbol. However, as various modeling softwares have been developed recently, there are more opportunities to apply this traditional system into complex high-rise structure to meet contemporary purposes and programs. Vernacular Versatility can open a new chapter of possibility to bring this hundreds-year-old tradition to present day with high-resolution intelligence and beauty.

After 1970's, with urban development, modern apartment had overwhelmed Korean built environment and Hanok was disappeared in every town. However, the value of Hanok has been highlighted from 2000s the efficient of its eco-friendly function and healing effectiveness has been emphasized. Today, the number of people who try to move in Hanok is growing rapidly to cure the diseases such as atopy or asthma, which is mainly caused by environment. Hanok takes only 0.77% yet in whole buildings of Korea (2008). This proposal is located in one of the busiest districts in Korea, employed by commercial and residential purpose like neighbor buildings. While people use this building in their routines, its exceptional vision will attract people’s attention and stimulate their interest in traditional architecture. Moreover, it will eventually be absorbed into people’s everyday lives.

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