American and Korean architectural firms Joel Sanders Architect and Haeahn Architecture have created the Seongbuk Gate Hills project in Seoul, South Korea. This project is located in the exclusive historical district of Seongbuk-dong, a neighborhood where precious traditional architecture and natural landscape is preserved and celebrated. This enclave of 12 private houses is designed to take advantage of its steeply sloping site so that every residence provides generous outdoor space and panoramic views of the majestic landscape. From the scale of the site plan to individual units, the project weaves together building and landscape, natural and synthetic materi- als, and indoor and outdoor spaces. Each residence is 3,000 sf with a garage/entertainment level and two living levels.
Inspired by its location, the design approach incorporates elements of traditional Korean architecture into a more progressive design vocabulary. Also inspired by the traditional Korean courtyard house, the units are organized around two courtyards, which visually link each dwelling with the landscape beyond: natural stone finishes continue inside through glazed walls to meet wood floors that accentuate living areas, while furniture and upholstery incorporate materials and colors from the mountain view, blurring the boundary between indoors and outdoors. All roofs are planted with a gridded pattern of four different species of sedum. When viewed from the national park across the valley, the pattern merges to form a dynamic composition of colors that change with the seasons, blending the structures into the densely wooded mountains surrounding the site.