Rieuldorang Atelier redefines ‘play’ with angled concrete surfaces in Marea House

This pool villa and lodging in Gyeongju, South Korea, employs slanted volumes, courtyards, and a garden with undulating terrain to fashion a lively space in harmony with nature.

by Jerry ElengicalPublished on : Dec 15, 2021

Amid swathes of open clearings and pension lodgings, in Gyeongju, South Korea, architecture firm Rieuldorang Atelier has developed a striking pool villa whose smooth concrete architecture integrates compound wall, façade, and roofing in a swooping form composed of clean angular lines. Marea House, as it has been christened, utilises its compound wall to scoop out a generous helping of the earth it is settled upon and create a private garden towards the rear of the plot featuring levels of undulating topography. Occupying the opposing section of the site, the set of concrete volumes exhibit an absence of perpendicular walls, replaced by slanted surfaces that gently shade framed glass enclosures and an internal courtyard at the heart of the building’s layout.

  • The structure is primarily composed of angled concrete walls | Marea House | Rieuldorang Atelier | STIRworld
    The structure is primarily composed of angled concrete walls Image: Yoon Joonhwan
  • Interlocking volumes shade interior spaces and courtyards | Marea House | Rieuldorang Atelier | STIRworld
    Interlocking volumes shade interior spaces and courtyards Image: Yoon Joonhwan
  • Sharp, angular geometries define the form of the residence | Rieuldorang Atelier | STIRworld
    Sharp, angular geometries define the form of the residence Image: Yoon Joonhwan

Bordered by roads on two of its sides, the structure’s graceful architectural forms exude a disarming lightness - particularly noteworthy considering its almost monolithic concrete materiality. While initially conceptualising the project, the architects at Rieuldorang Atelier shifted their perspective on the unique mix of residential and hospitality design typologies they were charged with unifying, to one centred principally on the idea of ‘play.’ “Most people living in apartments lack areas for play in their living space. It's something you can't do in an apartment living room. Plants swaying in the wind, the experience of touching the soil, etc. And the experience of a children's playground that I learned while designing a kindergarten suggested a new perspective for a family pool villa,” states Kim Seongyoul of Rieuldorang Atelier in an official release.

  • The architects played with the pool villa typology to create a layout centred on ‘play’ | Marea House | Rieuldorang Atelier | STIRworld
    The architects played with the pool villa typology to create a layout centred on ‘play’ Image: Yoon Joonhwan
  • An abundance of light permeates Marea House’s interiors through its many glazed openings | Marea House | Rieuldorang Atelier | STIRworld
    An abundance of light permeates Marea House’s interiors through its many glazed openings Image: Yoon Joonhwan

This decision was taken to compete with the abundance of similar such establishments in its vicinity, and create a statement that commanded the attention of passers-by. Harnessing the innate tactility and other experiential qualities of engaging with nature through the lens of play, the architects crafted an escape from the confinement of apartment living. The home's west-facing frontage reveals little, with a façade design featuring a set of angled concrete volumes punctuated by a narrow slit between them revealing the entrance.

  • Pure white walls and light wood finishes contribute to the restrained feel of the interiors | Marea House | Rieuldorang Atelier | STIRworld
    Pure white walls and light wood finishes contribute to the restrained feel of the interiors Image: Yoon Joonhwan
  • The two bedrooms have been placed at opposite ends of the layout | Marea House | Rieuldorang Atelier | STIRworld
    The two bedrooms have been placed at opposite ends of the layout Image: Yoon Joonhwan

Inside, the architects developed a spatial layout that would accommodate either one or two families, by placing the bedrooms at alternate extremities. This measure was implemented to alleviate economic barriers for tents that cannot rent the full space. In the centre, a large living area, overlooking shaded internal courtyards, links the two wings. Marea House’s interior design is restrained, almost bordering on the minimalist. Glass, light wood, and pure white walls allow abundant light to permeate the home’s private spaces, while the smooth texture of concrete shines in communal areas such as the pool.

  • The pool lies at the heart of the layout, with views of the garden beyond | Rieuldorang Atelier | STIRworld
    The pool lies at the heart of the layout, with views of the garden beyond Image: Yoon Joonhwan
  • The glass enclosure shields the pool from outward elements | Rieuldorang Atelier | STIRworld
    The glass enclosure shields the pool from outward elements Image: Yoon Joonhwan

A framed glass enclosure protrudes from the eastern end of the built structure, surrounding the swimming pool that serves as a focal point for the entire plan. Here, residents can truly immerse themselves in recreational pursuits, surrounded by views of the garden outside. The glazed enclosure is retractable and can be withdrawn or shut as prevailing weather conditions command. Rieudorang Atelier attempted to recreate the innate gentle slope of naturally occurring terrain by centring the outdoor garden on a series of mounds evoking hills.

  • The enclosure is retractable and can be opened up to the views of garden | Rieuldorang Atelier | STIRworld
    The enclosure is retractable and can be opened up to the views of garden Image: Yoon Joonhwan
  • A curving slide snakes its way down from the crest of a hill as part of the landscape design | Rieuldorang Atelier | STIRworld
    A curving slide snakes its way down from the crest of a hill as part of the landscape design Image: Yoon Joonhwan

"Children can create and play any game by themselves as long as they have dirt and hills,” mentions Seongyoul. A curving slide snakes its way down from the crest of one of the hills as an interactive landscape design element that further reinforces the project’s underlying concept. Seongyoul shares, “The boundaries between ornamental gardens and playgrounds are removed so that the guests could feel the natural beauty of the hills, trees and grass.”

  • First
    First Floor Plan Image: Courtesy of Rieuldorang Atelier
  • Section | Rieuldorang Atelier | STIRworld
    Section Image: Courtesy of Rieuldorang Atelier

Project Details

Name: Marea House
Location: Ma-dong, Gyeongju, Republic of Korea
Program: Pool Villa
Year of completion: 2020
Gross Built Area: 100 sqm
Architect: Rieuldorang Atelier
Lead Architects: Kim Seongyoul
Design Staff: Bae Seongyong
Structure: SDM Partners
Construction: Manbul Construction

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