Floating House by Hyunjoon Yoo


Korean architect Hyunjoon Yoo has completed a house overlooking the river Han in Seoul, Korea.

Called Floating House, the residence is raised on pillars so that the river can be seen from the house and third-floor roof garden.

The black concrete building has a balcony wrapped around all four sides.

A second building contains a guest house and is meant to block views of neighbouring buildings from the main house.

Here's some information from Hyunjoon Yoo:


Floating House


The given land has beautiful scenery facing the Bukhan River in the north. In the meanwhile, lots of restaurants and motels are seen in the south and decadent neon signs are seen from here to here creating visual pollution.


The clients are a couple in their fifties and sixties who run an elegant Korean restaurant which was built in a traditional Korean style. They wanted to build a house for them in the given land about five minutes away from the restaurant.

They wanted to overlook the river from a high level, at the height of the third floor. His close Feng Shui specialist had advised them not to make a door facing east and not to let people live in the southwest.

They wanted to have a study room, a barbeque place, and a guest house for their daughter’s family who sometimes visit them. They also wanted to make a big yard to play and jump about and a low-leveled swimming pool for their grandchildren. The wife wanted a design that gives a heavy and magnificent feeling.

Space Planning

The house was located in the north as far as it can be for a big sunny yard in the south. The guest house was located in the south so that the restaurants and motels are not seen from the yard. The guest house was built as if it were the fence to be located as far as it can be in the south.

It looks like it was put inside the thick fence. To view the river from the yard and the guest house, the main building was leveled up to be a piloti.

The roof of the main building was made as a plain roof and there is a roof garden in which people can overlook the river from high level. As a result, the river is viewed from every part of the house.

To make the house look as big as possible, a one meter wide balcony made of the same materials as the main building was built at its four sides.

The regulation defines that a balcony with one meter width is not included in total floor area. By doing so, the interior looks as if it keeps expanding when it is seen from inside the building.

Also, since all the buildings were lifted from the floor for one floor’s height, the pilotis space could be more expanded. Not to make the pilotis look big-headed like most piloti space with small and minimal columns, the columns were made thicker than necessary and a waterspout was installed inside to make the first floor look like a heavy rock.

Black concrete was used for a magnificent style, creating the feeling of tiles used in traditional Korean-style houses. As a result, the house created an image which is similar to the Korean-style restaurant of the clients.

The plan can be described as the “space within space.” The service space, such as a bathroom, a dress room, and a kitchen, was concentrated in the middle and compactly distributed, and a bedroom was placed in the east, a living room in the west, and a corridor in the outskirts. To make people in the house feel the space bigger than real, a circular traffic line was adopted instead of one main traffic line.

The circular traffic line was made with a minimum width to differentiate the intensity of space, but the space does not look small because the traffic line extends to visually meet the terrace.

Since the stairs that lead to the roof were made as if they were inserted to the second floor, the staircase does not protrude on the roof.

The staircase itself plays a role as a well of light, transmitting light to the middle level of the house.

Relation Network Design

Architecture is to design relationship. There are three kinds of relationships: physical relationship, visual relationship, and psychological relationship.

“Physical relationship” is the relationship in which a person looks at an object and actually he/she can reach that. The example is space where a person can communicate with a gate, a corridor, a road, or a bridge.

“Visual relationship” means the relationship in which a person can look at an object but he/she cannot reach that. When a person looks at the ground across the river that has no bridge, and he/she communicates with that place through a window from a place without door, it is the visual relationship.

“Psychological relationship” is the relationship in which a person cannot go over or look at an object, but he/she knows that there is the object. When a person is in a place without a window and he/she knows that there is a room beyond the wall, it is the psychological relationship. In this house, these kinds of relationships were created through traditional “rooms,” such as living room, bedroom, roof, staircase, kitchen, or bathroom.

For example, the study room and the kitchen were divided by a staircase but connected through a small window.

The bathroom was connected to the sky through the window at the top and connected to the staircase that leads to the roof at the third floor through the window. Also, a person can look at the river through the study room while he/she is taking a shower or bath.

In the living room, there are same-sized windows at the top and bottom to provide a wormhole-like feeling to the parallel structure. Through this mechanism, a visual relationship was formed at each floor. The windows and doors here and there were devised to create more various relationships in the simple mass-shaped house.

Posted on Tuesday November 3rd 2009 at 12:35 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • christian

    Very nice.
    Interior plan works very well too.

  • This reminds me of so many of those office buildings constructed in the 1960’s that had the parking underneath – just like this. It’s a nice idea but the space below is in the shade all day long.

  • eddie

    Looks great!

  • edward

    the external landscaping leaves a lot to be desired

  • dw

    pretty nice. but i’m skeptical about bushes on the roof. it blocks the sky through nice glass guardrail.

  • gytis

    i’d be pissed off climbing the stairs everytime i come home. Although the house looks very nice.

  • The structure is flawless, the use of exterior finish materials blends well.
    The minimalist landscaping compliments the architecture in a way that I seldom get to witness living in Florida.

  • Morgan

    That looks like something I might design! That house would also look nice in Oregon (where there is sometimes less visual pollution).

  • john

    is it possible to freely critisize this poor project????

  • Giseok

    wow! so surprised to see your name here, sir!
    I wanna see this project in next class!

  • Mehyma

    Wow, this is really innovative – a floating house? …on stilts? Not at all like Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, from 1929 (aka, the “machine for living”)

    It’s a shame that modern architects are preying on the public’s lack of knowledge of architectural history in an attempt to make their slightly modified “ideas” more artistically significant and seemingly creative. At least give credit where credit is due.

  • this looks too heavy. i know that's what the owner's wife wanted, but to my eyes it looks like they were going for a certain look, but just didn't pull it off too well.

  • Faiq

    The elevations look heavy and symmetrical (about a horizontal axis). Bushes on the roof are not necessary at all when you have a big garden and nice views; it massifies the rooftop way more than it needs. If meant for privacy, other lighter elements could be used. Anyway, at least they could have been hidden behind a wall instead of being visible behind a glass rail.

    More importantly, I find the circulation inside the house to be very difficult and stupid. The corridors around the house are very narrow, narrower than the 1m terrace around them. Look at the 5th picture, its very annoying.

    This house is annoying me terribly.