Minwook Choi’s minimalist Seroro House makes clever use of a 355-square-foot site.
The 355-square-foot lot that Minwook Choi of Smaller Architects chose for his family home in Seoul, South Korea, presented a daunting challenge—as well as an opportunity. “The site had been abandoned for a long time,” says Minwook. “People thought the land was too small to construct anything, and so the price had become reasonable.”
“Aside from being too small, the plot has many benefits,” continues Minwook, who lives with his wife, Ahyoung, and their two cats, Conti and Margaux. “It’s conveniently situated near several lines of public transportation and faces a park and the Fortress Wall of Seoul, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”
The property is also thankfully close to Minwook’s architecture office. “I wanted to live near where I work, but the cost of housing in Seoul is super high,” he says. “I couldn’t afford a nice apartment—an apartment in Seoul is more expensive than a house—so I decided to build for myself.”
The couple nabbed the affordable property and began to imagine a tall, narrow home that would take advantage of the site’s positive attributes. The resulting Seroro House, which means “vertical” in Korean, is a tower of sunlit rooms stacked over five stories.
The home’s location also offers a welcome respite from the urban context. “Looking out from each floor at trees in the park gives us a sense of seasons and time,” says Minwook. “And with COVID-19, we’re very grateful for our house with a view.” The home’s windows on the southern facade capture light while the west-facing windows frames views of the park; the other facades feature fewer openings, since they face the road.
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