N Retreat is a two-story company retreat located in the forest of Odae Mountain. The project is inspired by the spectrum of vegetation on site and the Korean vernacular greenhouse, Onsil.

Combined with modern materials and mechanical systems, such as polycarbonate and heat exhaust and intake, we retrofitted the ‘Onsil’ for modern-day use. The air gap between the polycarbonate facade and the concrete wall retains or releases heat to neutralize the interior temperature. Surrounded by two guest bedrooms and a common area, the courtyard brings light into the retreat while functioning as a chamber to let the air flow from one end to the other.

Utilizing the steep contours of the site, the northern edge of the first floor is submerged in earth, making it a two-story building from the front and a single-story on the back. The Trombe and retaining walls built with pre-cast concrete stabilize the building structurally and thermally. On top, a timber frame structure sits on the concrete walls. The two floors align on the southern edge of the building functioning as a wall to create more privacy on the backend of the retreat. The orthogonal z shaped massing provides all faces of the upper level with different views and access to the surrounding landscape.

Taking advantage of the tall forest on the backend of the site, we transformed the agricultural land into fringe habitation where the biodiversity of the forest and the backyard cohabitate. On the boundaries of the forest, garden, and building, different scales and layers of rocks, gravel, blocks, and plants are placed to facilitate the growth of weeds and wilderness as part of the landscape.

Status: Built, 2022
Location: Jinbu, Korea
Landscape: Peony
Photo Credit: Jang Mi