If you have to stop and look at a building while walking past it, the architect has done their job. So who could ever argue that Korean firm Iroje KHM weren’t pulling their professional weight? They have been behind some utterly irresistible designs, and perhaps none more so than Hwa Hun, a family home in Seoul.
This stunning building bears many of the most instantly recognisable hallmarks of cutting-edge Korean design: a dedication to straight lines and (often mind-bendingly complex) geometry; a futuristic edge; a faithfulness to simple colour schemes and clutter-free interiors.
But while many contemporary pieces of Korean architecture may share some or all of those features, they manifest themselves differently when reinterpreted by various architects. No-one could look at Hwa Hun and believe that the architects had simply been blindly following some pre-existing model for design success.
And why not? Because it looks like a spaceship, that’s why.
Hwa Hun is a distinctly pointy building, with acute angles forming the geometric basis for the entire design. Seen from the outside by night, with its triangular windows brightly illuminated, it seems utterly unearthly. It certainly doesn’t seem like a house, and it might take a fair bit of inspection to work out that in fact that is exactly what it is.
If you were wondering how those little windows provide sufficient light for the building, this is the answer. Rather like a doughnut, Hwa Hun is built around a central courtyard that contains hte outdoor spaces. It is on the walls that face this courtyard, rather than the ones that face the street that the main windows are located. But here, too, the triangle remains the key shape.
Inside, the traditional association of a wood-burning fireplace are negated by the futuristic design of the surrounding space and the fireplace itself.
Out in the multi-level garden space, there’s a great spot to eat on this island in the middle of an asymmetrical jagged pond.
No additional decoration is needed here; cement walls, some of them painted white, and seemingly unfinished floors are just what’s needed to avoid distraction from the incredible geometry of the space.
Staircases are, of course, a real treat for any architect who delights in working creatively with angles. It’s no surprise, then, that Hwa Hun is full of the things, and no two are alike.
The master bedroom is as sparsely furnished as the other areas of the house, but indulgence comes in the form of this bath tub set into the floor.
In the kitchen, the triangle remains king. Here, however, we do also see some of the only wobbly lines in the entire building, in the form of the squiggly red cable that suspend the lamps.
It would take a real effort for anyone who lives in the vicinity of Hwa Hun to get lost, considering that its striking form is visible from far and wide.
This incredible view reveals just how much outdoor space there is concealed within Hwa Hun’s walls. And this concludes our tour of this astonishing building. Whether you're a fan of futuristic architecture or not, you can't fail to be impressed by the elegant audacity of this creation.
Looking for more angular design? This concrete house in Japan is another geometric wonder worth exploring.