Nature Engulfs This South Korean  House Nestled Into the Earth
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Nature Engulfs This South Korean House Nestled Into the Earth

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By Melissa Dalton
Faced with a steep slope, Rieuldorang Atelier immersed this home in the hillside.

When clients approached Rieuldorang Atelier to build this house in Cheongdo-gun, South Korea, their brief was simple: they wanted to live in nature. However, early in the design process, they discovered that the forest that backed the building site would be developed. "In other words, they wanted to live in nature, but it became an ironic situation where nature was lost," said the firm.

The 2026-square-foot house is split into two structures, with an underground garage separating the two halves.  

The 2026-square-foot house is split into two structures, with an underground garage separating the two halves.  

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The architects’ approach to the clients’ dilemma was to put the house in the ground, and the nature in the house. "We did not want to design on the land...by cutting the ground or building up the soil," said the firm. "The point was to actively use the surrounding natural environment and land while complying with the slope of the land."

The home's lower level is submerged in the hillside. The three bedrooms on the upper level have access to the roof terrace. 

The home's lower level is submerged in the hillside. The three bedrooms on the upper level have access to the roof terrace. 

The gabled form of the building is sliced open at the entrance to reveal a deliberately placed tree. This building houses four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen; the main living spaces are located in the second building.

The gabled form of the building is sliced open at the entrance to reveal a deliberately placed tree. This building houses four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen; the main living spaces are located in the second building.

A bedroom with a built-in work space and a raised platform.

A bedroom with a built-in work space and a raised platform.

The two structures are connected by green space.

The two structures are connected by green space.

The second building contains the main living spaces and accesses the pool. The view from the second floor is framed by the separated gable.

The second building contains the main living spaces and accesses the pool. The view from the second floor is framed by the separated gable.

This view shows how the front facade is detached from the rest of the house to allow a tree to grow between the two parts.

This view shows how the front facade is detached from the rest of the house to allow a tree to grow between the two parts.

Wood cladding encases the ceiling of the kitchen at the lower level, covers the stairs, and defines the bedroom on the upper floor.

Wood cladding encases the ceiling of the kitchen at the lower level, covers the stairs, and defines the bedroom on the upper floor.

Stone tile and wood accents in the bathroom.

Stone tile and wood accents in the bathroom.

A path connects the underground garage to the main house. The house’s shape was dictated by the contour of the land.

A path connects the underground garage to the main house. The house’s shape was dictated by the contour of the land.

Night lighting emphasizes the dramatic form of the building.

Night lighting emphasizes the dramatic form of the building.

"By reversing the shape of the land and the house, we wanted to think about the relationship between house and nature and notion of form," said the firm.

"By reversing the shape of the land and the house, we wanted to think about the relationship between house and nature and notion of form," said the firm.

The first floor

The first floor

The second floor

The second floor

Related Reading: A Gabled Corridor Runs Through This Playful South Korean HomeColorful Glamping Pods Dot a Forest in South Korea

Project Credits:

Architect of Record: Rieuldorang Atelier

Builder: Manbul Construction

Photography: Joonhwan Yoon