South Korean architects create out-of-this-world apartments near Seoul
South Korean architectural studio Moon Hoon has recently completed a futuristic multi-purpose building located in the new urban development within Hwaseong city, just outside of Seoul. Dubbed Mars, the three-story structure stands out amid its stark environment, not too dissimilar to a foreign building being placed on its namesake planet.
At the request of their client, the Moon Hoon architects rose to the occasion of creating a building that would drastically depart from conventional housing design and architecture. Adopting an out-of-this-world theme, the building boasts a unique facade featuring a series geometrical glass panels trimmed with a brass-like metal border and metal exterior tiled walls. The structure is further enhanced with a Pantheon-inspired sphere located on the top of the building, contributing to its futuristic aesthetic, while also providing an observatory-like spatial retreat for its occupants.
“The 2nd, and 3rd floor slab, which are also the roof of 1st floor and 2nd floor respectively, are not flat but angled and folded, which is very uncommon in general architecture,” says Moon Hoon. “It strives to provide two things, firstly dynamic spatial experience beyond the rectangular box, in spite of being in the vertically stacked space, secondly providing illusory spatial experience, where folded floors provide false sensation of gravity.”
Stretching over three levels, the Mars building comprises a top-floor penthouse for the owners, and two single-bedroom rental apartments on the middle floor, and a commercial rental space on the ground floor.
The interior design is just as disorientating as the building’s façade, comprising various geometric elements, a mix of different materials and dramatic color changes. With a strong industrial feel, the interior design features exposed lighting and cabling, concrete ceilings and walls, marble feature flooring in the penthouse kitchen and living spaces, curved feature walls and circular or angular rooms.
The three-bedroom penthouse boasts a master bedroom with private ensuite and dressing room; two single bedrooms with a shared bathroom; marble modern kitchen; central circular dining room; space-themed media room; and utilities room. The home is overloaded with spatial tricks and unique features, including and an extra-large spherical central skylight with seating underneath, planet-like curved-concrete walls, a space-themed retreat room with padded gradient seating, constellation-designed lighting; and spacecraft-like metal and glass walkways and bridges.
In contrast to the rest of the structure, the two rental apartments feature clean lines, sunken living spaces and the use of traditional timber flooring, wall paneling and sliding doors. The simplicity of the apartments offers some much-needed warmth and a relief from the structure’s often overbearing and chaotic presence.
“The special client with the right architect can travel to the land of fantasies and imaginations, where names denote other things, and where shapes evoke other dimensions and time,” comments Moon Hoon. “I believe we have been doing this, by erecting houses for gods and other entities all throughout history. The collective urges and desires have given way to individual inclinations and understandings, which can somehow expand the boundary of architecture to a whole new level of lightness and seriousness.”