Visit Seoul, South Korea, and you’ll be stunned by the average apartment building—tens of stories high, and numbering in what must be the hundreds, these landscape-defining structures look less like the housing stock of a high-tech megacity than massive concrete milk cartons.
Riding a wave of dissatisfaction with high-rise dwelling, growing numbers of South Koreans are looking for a different, more sustainable way to live. And a new housing prototype in Kyeong-Gi—the E+ Green Home—showcases the sustainable building prowess of the firm Kolon Engineering and Construction and also the design acumen of Seoul’s Unsangdong Architects Cooperation.
Erected on the site of Kolon’s head-quarters, the show home is one of what the firm hopes will be many they’ll build across South Korea. With a tripartite approach to energy efficiency, the E+ Home is at once a laboratory and a showcase for the 95 green technologies used, many developed by Kolon. By saving (the house uses 27 percent of the average Korean home), generating (it produces 38 percent of what’s used by the average Korean home), and recycling energy, the E+ Home even meets German Passive House standards.
A tool for marketing and education, the E+ Home is that rare spec house that actually functions as a working residence: Curious house-hunters can actually book a night or two in the place to get a feel for what serious green living feels like. Rare is the chance to spend a night in so techy an abode, but if you can’t swing a stay in Kyeong-Gi anytime soon, take our tour of South Korea’s bright green future.
Click here to view more photos of the project.
Aaron writes the men's style column "The Pocket Square" for the San Francisco Chronicle and has written for the New York Times, the Times Magazine, Newsweek, National Geographic and others.