Earth House by BCHO Architects


Earth House by BCHO Architects

BCHO Architects have completed this house buried in the ground in Seoul, Korea.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

Called Earth House, the project was built to honour the late Korean poet Yoon Dong-joo.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

The concrete-lined residence has two courtyards with earth floors, to which all rooms are connected.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

Rammed-earth walls make use of the excavated earth while wood from a pine tree from the site is embedded in the concrete courtyard walls.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

Photographs are by Wooseop Hwang.

Here's some more information from BCHO Architects:

Earth House – BCHO Architects

Earth House is a house of the sky. It is a house built in honor of Yoon Dong-joo, a Korean poet, who wrote beautiful poems about the sky, the Earth, and the stars.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

It is a house which focuses on the primal relationship between nature and humans. It is built with careful consideration of constructional efficiency and our somatic senses.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

The 14m x 17m concrete box is buried in the ground and contains 6, 1-pyeong, rooms and two earth filled courtyards. The ‘small house’ is open to the courtyard which is open to the sky.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

The one pyeong rooms originated from the size of one kan (6x6 ja; 1 ja = approx. 30cm) which are just large enough for an adult to lie down straight.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

The house has a small kitchen, a study, two resting rooms, a bathroom with a wooden tub and toilet, and a wash room. The rooms are all adjacent to each other and open directly to the earth filled courtyard.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

Connecting rooms can be joined to create a bigger room. The house doors are small, entering the house requires making your body into a smaller shape.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

The lateral pressure from the earth on four sides is resisted by thick concrete retaining wall and a flat roof and base plate. There is also a hidden steel column in the center wall that reinforced the structural plates.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

Rammed Earth walls provide all the interior spatial divisions and the walls facing both courtyards.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

The earth used for the walls is from the site excavation. Even though the viscosity of the existing earth was low, only minimal white cement and lime was used so the earth walls can return to the soil later.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

Four gutters are placed in the corners of the courtyard for drainage. The house uses a geothermal cooling system with a radiant floor heating system under the rammed clay and concrete floor. Off-peak electricity is used at night to heat the small gravel under the floor.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

A combination of passive cooling and geothermal tubes which are buried in the earth around the buildings keep the temperature cool in summer and warm in winter.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

A pine tree which was cut down from the site, was sliced into 80mm thick discs and was cast into the concrete walls of the courtyard so as it decays, it will host small plants and new life will arise with time.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

The wooden canopy protecting the entrance into the small house uses 39mm tensile wires.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

Recycled lumber was cut into 30mm x 50mm wide pieces and joined with flat steel bar, keeping the material to a minimum.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

All of the interior furniture and closets are also recycled wood from old Korean gates.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

As Yoon’s poetry expresses hope for the future from times of great peril, which he tried to achieve through self-restraint and self-reflection, our hope is that this Earth House would be a house where we can reflect on ‘ourselves’ while living in the present era.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

Architect : Byoungsoo Cho
Project Team : Hongjoon Yang, Woohyun Kang, Taehyun Nam
Location : 789-55, Sugok2-ri, Jipyeong-myeon, Yangpyeong-gun,

Earth House by BCHO Architects

Program : Library, Meditation
Site area : 660.00㎡
Gross floor area : 32.49㎡
Total floor area : 32.49㎡
Building-to-land ratio : 4.92%
Floor area ratio : 4.92%

Earth House by BCHO Architects

Building scope : B1F
Structure : RC flat slab
Exterior finishing : Exposed board form concrete,
Rammed earth wall + non-structural wood wall
Rammed Earth Consultant : Keunsik Shin
Contractor : CPLUS International Co. Ltd.

Earth House by BCHO Architects

Photographs : Wooseop Hwang
Design period : 2007.3 ~ 2009.2
Construction period : 2008.7 ~ 2009.2

Earth House by BCHO Architects

See also:


Cottages at Fallingwater
by Patkau Architects
East Mountain
by Johan Berglund
More architecture stories
on Dezeen

Posted on Thursday June 10th 2010 at 12:22 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Kristen

    love the idea…like an underground home

  • Ferdie_bonaparte

    This is what seperates an architecture and a mere building. Nice work!

  • KaptnK

    well, this is going to confuse the archaeologists of the future!

  • flux

    grave. i want to be burried there.

  • Seems a tad coffin in the ground like for my taste, but that’s more a comment on my own uncomfortableness with morbidity and renewal than a criticism of the project which sounds and looks from the descriptions as poignant and thoughtful.
    Is building underground the new rage or what tho? Is that the future of eco-design, a literal return into the earth?

  • Chong Hor Ooi

    If possible to add a piece shutoff roof when away from home,will be much better….

  • antonius

    like the view from the living room.

  • J*

    It’s weird, it’s always been one of my idea, but what does it feels like not to see anything (but concrete) through the windows? I’m sure I would feel oppressed after a while in there, despite the fact I really like the execution of it.

  • Very nicely integrated, especially with a nuclear North Korea as a neighbor.

  • Its gonna suck when it rains….

  • andy

    i would worry about the little natural lighting and staring at concrete alltime too.

  • Beauty

    Its a highly poetic concept, serves its purpose as a place self-reflection.

    I guess one could always go up to the top for some green…

    Would four drainage pipes really be sufficient to deal with flooding? I’m sure (hopeful…) the architects would have considered the climate.

  • Gollumpus

    I do like it, however, I would have concerns about folks who were not familiar with the property (eg. guests) falling into the courtyard.

  • Rafel

    If I was them… I would pray that the drainage system does indeed work when a heavy rain comes… otherwise… good luck!

  • rdeam

    one of the most poetic projects ive seen in ages.. big ups.. major props.. gyeah

  • First impression is ‘an empty pool’. I’m curious what happens when heavy rain occurs. I doubt the four gutters in the corners of the courtyard will be enough. Yet it could be very spectacular…

    It’s a great tribute, heaven, sky and stars with a tiny referal to imprissonment (being embedded between those walls). Perfect place for self reflection or to commit a thoughtcrime.

  • Omikey

    Hey sweetie let’s go for a walk in the paaaaaaaaaa Damn Asian designers… call me an ambulance.

  • Wei

    Big leaking problem in the future, especially for the windows. Like the pine embedded in concrete retaining wall idea though.

  • tanya telford – T

    some really sensitive touches with regards to nature, can’t help but like it.

  • Very nice concept. I might be a bit worried if I had children though. A fence might be a good idea!


  • shireen

    nice project exceptional idea

  • angela eun

    I think it is still conceptional and wonder what is it like live in under ground level with small mount of lighting interm of practical use (?)
    if it has sky window, it would be better. I have similar situation of my bedroom and found that very little natural light.
    however, it reflects very much Korean Minimalism in architecture.

  • Ravi

    Lovely house. Looking at the concrete does not worry me. I am sure the architects would have thought about the drainage problems, but they could have kept the walls higher than the existing ground level, so that in heavy rains the muddy water coming down the slopes can be kept at bay.

    House wil require heavy maintainence during rains thats for sure.

    Absolutle adore the courtyard though.

  • odile dimitri dupont

    people falling in to this house have already been mentioned, I guess animals too should be mentioned here : /