Image Credit : Namgoong Sun



Project Overview

The Boulder House is a residential house for a client who puts privacy first in an area where securing privacy is difficult. To secure privacy, the architect minimized the windows except the direction to the garden in the east, and due to this, the building couldn’t have avoided looking especially massive. To make this rarely-seen characteristic of the building stand out, the architect planned it to look like one gigantic boulder. The architect took great pains in the selection of exterior finishing materials and construction methods to make the building look like one gigantic boulder, and the result is the boulder-looking house.

Project Commissioner

Private Client

Project Creator


Project Brief

The Boulder House, located near ‘Seolleung’, the former royal tomb that became a park in Gangnam, Seoul, is surrounded by multi-family houses, making it unsuitable for the single-family house. On the other hand, the client, famous couple of movie stars, made a very high request for privacy because they have stalking problem from media and fans.
In the paradoxical process of designing a home in an area where privacy is very unfavorable for a client whose privacy is very important, the building becomes a very unique feature that is not usually seen.
In the course of responding to the context, the client and the architect ultimately wanted to design a house that feels heavy and solid like a boulder. Unfortunately, unlike a natural boulder, the stones used in buildings are divided and repeated for construction, which distorts the unique pattern and scale of the stones. Just using a stone as an exterior finish doesn't give you the feel of a boulder.
By matching the stone pattern and the construction joint in parallel, you can see horizontal layers of different scales depending on how far from you look at the building.
At a close distance, the horizontal pattern of the stones is visible, and at a far distance, the horizontal construction joint looks like a natural pattern of stone, making the building look like a large mass of a boulder.

Project Innovation/Need

Stone, as a natural material, is one of the most loved exterior materials for reasons such as the versatility and convenience of maintenance. But it is constructed in small scales so that it can be used for an exterior material of buildings, and due to the artificial pattern generated from this process, it loses the its natural unique patterns it has when it is one mass.
The reason why the stone work pattern of the Boulder House was important was because we wanted the building to look like one gigantic boulder.
At the Boulder house, we solved this problem by two methods;
The first is ensuring that the patterns of the stone do not disconnect and the second is the harmony between the patterns of the stone and the construction joints.
The matching direction between the patterns of the stone and the construction joints minimizes the sense of difference between these two and helps people to recognize the horizontal layer in different scales depending on the distance viewing the building from.
When looked upon closer, you see the horizontal pattern of the stone and if you step back and look, the horizontal patterns of the stone disappear and the horizontal construction joints are changed into the horizontal patterns of the stone. No matter where you see the building from, it looks like a big chunk of a boulder with horizontal layers.

Design Challenge

We suggested various alternatives of the materials they wanted in order to reduce the client's cost.
In particular for the stone used as the exterior material, we wanted to use the surface of the stone that has never been used before.
An Italian stone company also offered stone at a much lower price than usual to get a new reference.
As a result, the successful stone experiments have greatly increased the value of the stone that has helped the stone companies.
The 1/40 scaled stone model in the picture is a gift from a stone company.


Korea is heavily affected by seasonal air pollution. In the long term, therefore, contamination by mixing dust and rainwater is the biggest problem for building maintenance. We addressed the rainwater collected through flashing or gutter to the water tank room in underground so that rainwater does not flow through the walls of the building. The collected water is continuously used to prevent drying out of landscaping planting on the thin soil above the underground parking lot.
All lights are equipped with a dimmer switch to eliminate unnecessary waste of electricity.
Clients often leave their homes for long periods because they have several homes. We set the smart control system that allows the inspection and control of electrical equipment from the outside.


This award celebrates the design process and product of planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, and aesthetic considerations. Consideration given for material selection, technology, light and shadow.
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