A Camping Village in South Korea Draws Inspiration From an Iconic Fairy Tale

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By Jenny Xie / Published by Dwell
A local nature enthusiast in the Gyeonggi province sets up a cafe and cabin retreat to combat a diminishing forest.

Designed to be in harmony with the surrounding forest, Haru is a cafe and camping complex by South Korean firm B.U.S Architecture. The architects collaborated with the owner, who was born and raised in the area and already had years of experience running a campsite, to define what an outdoor lifestyle meant to each of them—and determine how to best convey it through architecture.

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On walks through the densely wooded landscape, they selected which trees would be preserved in order to create a sense of scale; in this sense, the pattern of the forest impacted the project from beginning to end. "Pruning some trees and wandering in the forest, we felt as if we were elves," reads the architects’ statement. Factories and developers had encroached on the surrounding area, making this refuge all the more important.

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Taking inspiration from the fairy tale of Snow White and the seven dwarves, Haru consists of a "castle" and "village," or a cafe and seven red cedar cabins. Each camping module includes a small kitchen and dining area that leads onto a shaded deck. Together, they make up a welcome respite from the rapidly industrializing area.

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To learn more about Haru, visit the Korean-language website here.