The Zig Zag house is located in a small village called Unjeong, an hour away from Seoul. After a Korean family immigrated to Russia in 1996 for their business, the members of the family found it was time to co-exist. The parents, their two daughters, and five dogs are now settled under one roof. It wasn’t simply a joyful moment for them, due to their 15 years apart there was a concern about different personalities, experiences, and environments all clashing in one space.
The family prioritized a few things: both indoor and outdoor spaces for their five dogs, a room for piano practice, to preserve an existing pine tree on their site, and to create a sense of privacy within the home and from the neighbors.
Located in a suburban context the family wanted to celebrate the views of the surrounding mountains and fields through their windows. Lastly, the family desired an architecture with a simple yet powerful geometric expression to redefine their lives together.
Chang Kyu Lee proposed the Zig Zag House. A simple composition that created uniquely complex interior organization and spatial conditions. The home is the combination of three subtly articulated volumes, each with varying spatial programming, creating strong lines of light and shadow. These geometries define themselves differently based on the time of day, season, and location. This graphic quality juxtaposed with the surrounding houses creates a unique dynamism in the neighborhood.
The first volume is marked with an angled entry away from the public road and is defined by an array of white metal louvers, creating a soft fabric like texture while defining a boundary. Upon entry there is a guest room, dog room, and a staircase connecting the volumes together. The kitchen and living room are separated by a few steps down and a light filled atrium above. Views of Mt. Simhak surround the living room, and a 75 year old pine tree stands in the garden between the home and the mountains, where the family spends intimate time with their dogs.
The second volume is pressed at the center to create an intimate terrace for the younger daughter’s bedroom, the parent’s bedroom sits at the volume’s opposite end. A window at the center of the connecting passageway provides a different view from either direction. The rooms in this volume are embraced by mountains and fields through the south west window and views of the village through the south east window. Each room in Zig Zag house provides an in-suite bath and dressing room, allowing total privacy within the space.
The third and top volume holds the family room and older daughter’s bedroom. By angling the east face to the south a private terrace is created within the geometry of the volume. The unusual shape of the roof is a transition between a flipped gable shape into a sloped plane. This uncommon form maintains a 3:10 water drainage slope while providing a space shaped to improve the acoustic quality of the piano room, allowing the music to resonate throughout the house.
The ingenious idea of unusual subtleties creating spatial dynamism redefines the ever changing activity and experiences within the home. The Zig Zag house rethinks the meaning of family containing stories of program, space, and form, reuniting them in Unjeong Village for a new life.