Ga On Jai

Seongnam-si, South Korea – IROJE KHM Architects

Project Year :     2013
Developed Area :     329.0 m2
Photographs :     Jong Oh Kim, Sergio Pirrone, Jeong Sik Mun

Ga On Jai is interesting in many ways. The layout, shape of the roof, and combination of materials are far from the usual. The facade, for instance, is made of white stucco, zinc plates, and exposed concrete. Inside, you’ll find timber floors, white walls, and perforated metal panels.

The focal point of the house is its courtyard with the house wrapped around it. The homeowners wanted a space that will give them the benefits of the outdoors without sacrificing privacy.

There seems to be a lot going on in this house. It features complex shapes that are very geometrical in nature. There are stairs that lead from the courtyard to various spaces inside the house. From an outsider’s point of view, it looks quite confusing.

The beauty of the interiors can very well compensate for the confusion of the outdoor design. Bright, spacious, and airy, one can perfectly relax in comfort and peace.

Notes from the Architect:

About 20 years ago, government held “the house expo” in GangNam and constructed this “expo town” of low-rise residences, and every site of this town were designed by selected architects who had been famous in Korea at that time.

The site of “GaOnJai” was one of this monumental town, but the owner of this house who purchased house of this site, has built, newly, after tearing down the old house of this site.


Useful landuse, ecology
To maximize the efficiency of landuse, to be ecological spaces were important requirements, because the owner thought exterior spaces of demolished old house were narrow, useless and circumstance of inner spaces were dark and blue.

Introvert space
To keep privacy and security, to block noise, smoke and other’s eye, introverted layout of this house was required.

Absorbing landscape of surrounding mountain
The living room where has dynamic, picturesque view of landscape of near mountain had been required.

The house which has it’s own Identity of Korean culture has been required because I think this town is representative town of desirable planned residences in Korea.


By introducing “Madang” which is Korean inner court, we have solved the requirement of introvert space, ecological environment, useful outdoor space and have got the nature which has healthy, live environment and landscape.

By introducing “Ru” which is Korean-pilotied architecture, we absorbed the dynamic and picturesque landscape of near mountain, according to turn the axis of mass of living room to top of the surrounding mountain.

Void space under “Ru” is the beginning of approach part of dramatic sequence of strolling course in spaces of this house, like cave.

By introducing curved “Cheoma” which is cantilevered roof of Korea for the floating roof of this house, we got, not only the resistance to rough weather condition, but also, to revive the traditional language of architecture in translated language in modern.

By introducing oval patterned concrete wall which was derived from traditional stone wall, we expected it would be reminder of past.


By adapting topography of existing site, lower Madang, higher Madang, various skip-floored inner spaces were designed as different level each other and they produced interesting route of stroll in every place of this house.

This natural adaptation to nature has been basic character of Korean culture of architecture.


All the programs of spaces of this house were laid out as the touring course that has dramatic interest of “strolling” through the inside and outside of this house, visually and spatially.

Thereby we expect the living in this house will not be tired for long time by giving enjoy of strolling in their own world.

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Exterior Views :

Interior Views :

Drawing Views :

Speaking of unusually-shaped houses, the Conch Shell House is one house you have got to see.




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