Pixel House by Mass Studies

Pixel House by Mass Studies


This house is for a young family with two children. This family is very interested in the larger community and plans on sharing their exterior spaces with the community. They intend to create a day care for neighborhood children.

In addition to being a house this structure will end up also functioning as a community center. The site is perfectly matched with the client’s intentions; it is the last house in a row of houses. It is the point of rupture between the clearly defined front and back yard spaces; the point at which the continuous façade that defines these outdoor spaces ends or turns. Because of this, the public and private territories are not as clear on this site as on other sites within the row.

While the public and private territories are ambiguous, the end condition is the point at which the relationship between the building and the landscape is clearest. The entire row of houses can be read as an object/ field relationship between building and landscape. This opposition between formal clarity and territorial ambiguity requires a very different strategy than with the infill condition, particularly because the client is interested in breaking down the public private opposition.

We chose to break the row into fragments rather than just extending the “wall” of houses to the end of the site, by placing the main house at the western end of the site. This allows a bleeding between the front and back spaces and creates an outdoor space open to the street within the depth of the row house.

The relationship between the landscape and the building is also questioned because the main house volume is removed from the row and also softened and rounded to be somewhere between the rigid orthogonal geometry of the row and the smooth contours of the landscape. Is it a rock or a building?

At a micro scale this tension between the contoured natural condition and the orthogonal master plan condition is further developed in the choice of materials. By using a simple orthogonal brick, in an orthogonal order and allowing the bricks to slide out of plane to create the curved wall, the tension between orthogonal and contoured form is revealed. This tectonic tension is parallel to the tension that exists between the building and the row of houses adjacent to it and between the master plan massing and the hilly landscape.

The middle piece of the house, phase three, occupies the back yard as defined in the master plan.

Location: F60-1 Heyri Art Valley. Paju City, Kyonggido, Korea
Date of completion: Nov 2003
Architects: Mass Studies (Minsuk Cho, Kisu Park, Jeongwon Lee, Soonbok Choi, Jungoo Kang, Sungpil Won, Slade Architecture: James Slade, Ilya Korolev, Oliver Spreckelsen)
Structure: Youngho Lee
MEP: Samjung, Jinsan
Contractor: Hanool Construction
Client: Younghyo Jin, Sookhee Chang


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