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Escaping the Heyri-type

"Urban design regulations as an obstacle to the diversity for a new era"

The "form-based codes" (FBCs), initiated by American urban planners in the 1970s to complement the weaknesses of the urban zoning system, became newly reinterpreted by the architectural coordinators of Heyri in 2001. The "Design Guidelines for the Architecture of Heyri" drawn up by them includes the following definitions of four different building types: first, a patch-linear type; second, a plate-object type; third, sloped patch-podium type; and fourth, a gate-house type, to which the site of this project belongs.


This last fourth type literally means the building shaped like a gate such as the Triumphal Gate, the center of which is empty. This regulation is an effective legal instrument for the aesthetic improvement of urban environment, controlling the scale and form of a building; its relationships with the outdoor space; and the block, street type, and proportions.

Occasionally, however, this regulation might also reduce the right to the land and become an obstacle to the free imaginations of clients and architects. So rigorous and restrictive in terms of the form, area, and spatial composition the client desires, this regulation cannot reflect the hopes of individuals nor allow free choices of building material. For example, it does not allow the use of white exterior walls, bricks, and fences, unless there have been deliberations and residents' agreements on their use.


The client required a bright building that guarantees privacy with a simple structure in which an integrated space (rather than two separate spaces due to the gate-like form) is put on the 1st (ground) floor sized maximally within the legal limits, and a courtyard put on the 2nd floor. To satisfy these all, it would be inevitable not to observe the design regulations of area, layout, forms, and materials.

Adapting to the Uses and the Earth

"Two spatial layers: the entry from the road and the flow from the mountain."

The client hoped their publishing company, a book cafe, and a house would all gather in a building on the newly purchased site.

On the 1st floor, they wanted the office and the book cafe to be designed separately but as one with creators and readers (children).

On the 2nd floor, they wanted a courtyard to be put to raise a dog that made them decide to make a house built, as well as a sunshiny room with a view to the mountain at the back which could be a companion for them to enjoy the rest of their life.


These floor-by-floor programs clearly distinguish between the private and the public spheres. The 1st floor of this sloped gound becomes the first layer that forms an expanded space with the additional area available for commercial and public uses: a rear court put between the building and the mountain introduces the sight from the road, and its retaining walls will later be painted with the murals of children's picture books. The 2nd floor becomes the second layer that introduces the flow of the mountain and vegetation into the courtyard so as to make rich spaces inside and outside.



Between Closure and Openness

"Coexistence of contradictory elements"


The overall space is organized with the clashes and coexistence of these two concepts. The 1st floor is open, while the 2nd floor is closed; the former is colored with dark shades, while the latter with bright and light shades. While the 1st floor is shaped with transparency, the 2nd floor is shaped in a mass form which proves a plate-like structure consisting of interstices at a closer look. The 2nd floor looks closed from the outside, but looks open indoors as all the space communicates through gaps, interstitial spaces, and the skylight.


Thus, this building has a structure in which contradictory elements coexist dramatically in accord with the surrounding conditions and spatial uses.



Paju, Korea

Site Area

651.2 ㎡



Bldg Area

317.41 ㎡ 



Gross Area

493.41 ㎡


Commercial Facility, 

Office, Residence


A-point architects

Lee juhyung, KIRA

Bldg Scope


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