This is a project by Mass Studies and it is located at Paju-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. Project's program: Single family house. There are eighteen images for Torque House.
Torque House is a three-story, 134-pyeong (1 pyeong equals 3.3 square meters) building that contains living space for four family members, with workspace for both the husband, who is a sound engineer, and his wife, who is a painter. It took two years to complete, from design to construction, and in the process created a synthesis through clashes between several pairs of contrasting dynamics.
Painter vs. Recording Engineer
The wife, who modestly introduced herself as a "painter who paints boring still-life paintings such as flower vases" concisely suggested requirements for her studio, using as an example highly stylish buildings that she was not quite fond of in Heyri Art Valley. The requirements included the following: the studio should not be visible from the outside to help her concentrate on her work in a secluded manner, undisturbed by out side distractions in Heyri Art Valley, which is increasingly gaining popularity. It should however have an appropriate amount of natural light, and the space should be clearly separated from other functions of the building interior yet at the same time should be selectively connected to the building interior and have a separate entrance from the outside. It should also have a high ceiling for large paintings, and the space should be symmetrical to give a sense of stability, and the studio should be rectangular, without any precarious acute angles.
On the other hand, the husband, who is a classical music recording engineer, wanted a studio fit for social purposes, even though he has a quiet personality. Due to the fact that he needs to invite musicians with whom he has to collaborate, the music performance/recording studio should also be a social venue, considering the needs and characteristics of a sound engineer. At the same time, he wanted the space to allow independent circulation so as not to disturb other residential spaces in the house and his wife's atelier. The working space that he specified had to comprise a music performance room that can accommodate up to 30 orchestra music performers and another room where he can monitor, record and edit music performances through a sound-proof window. In contrast with his wife, who required a space with right angles, he presented the requirement that planes defining the interior space, such as walls, floor, and ceiling, should not be in parallel due to his acoustic requirements. Furthermore, in order to create an optimal sound environment, he patiently explained scientific knowledge related to sound, such as insulation of sound, soundproofing, acoustic absorption, and sound reverberation to us, people who were almost ignorant about sound in the beginning. For instance, consideration of acoustics was given top priority in all aspects of creating the studio, including size, location and details of windows, while emotional aspects had to be satisfied at the same time. In addition, considerations of the social use of the workspace required a small kitchen in which one can prepare and eat snacks while people are working through the night, and an external space for smoking, and we added our suggestion to create a small performance/rest area, capitalizing on a rooftop area.
Linear Building Type vs. Irregular Site
The site where this building, designated a "linear building type" in the Heyri Master Plan, is located is mostly flat. However, the southern part of the site meets with two small mountains, and where it turns toward a valley between the two mountains, the site has a curved road, which makes it an "irregular site" with a curved boundary in a northeast direction adjacent to the road. Consequently, unlike other typical linear building types seen in Heyri, where buildings and the road are in parallel and have a 3-meter distance between them, this building has unique conditions in which the building and road meet on two sides on the northeast side of the linear building and are separated in the center. As a result, when a 1:1.5 slant, in accordance with the oblique line limitation for daylight on the north side, is vertically applied to a straight-line rectangular mass from the curved road boundary, the two corners facing north are naturally pushed. As sharp stones are worn down by a flowing stream and transformed into pebbles, a rectangular building becomes torqued through the movement of curves.
Building vs. Landscape
The exterior surface of the building is organized in a simple manner. A semi-reflective glass curtain wall was used for the exterior of the shorter side of the building in a southeast direction to facilitate natural lighting and a better view of the residential spaces on the first and second floors, and a recording room on the third floor that is met by the side, while making it reflect the surrounding scenery from the outside. The opposite, northwestern facade on the shorter side was planned as a simple exposed concrete-structure wall without openings, as it would be facing a linear building on a nearby site. The northwestern and southeastern facades on the longer side have strip windows in each center that serve as a window for the second floor, with bedrooms and windows as high in an atelier with a double height on the first floor, dividing the relatively closed sides of the building into two masses. In order to further complement the closed feature of the facade, due to the atelier and recording room, we agreed with the client from the beginning that excessively Spartan outer wall materials should be avoided, if possible. After much deliberation, we were introduced by a landscaping designer to the "Moss Catch System," a kind of Geotextile that has started to be used in improving the appearance of retaining walls, and applied the system to the building. A small landscaping company, which had imported the technology, developed in Japan, to Korea, offered installation service with special enthusiasm and even resolved technical problems such as the installation of watering facilities, since this was its first project using the technology as the finish material of a building. The product, manufactured by mixing two types of mosses that grow well on both south and north sides, was perfect for applying to this building, and currently sprouts of the mosses are gradually growing on its walls, making it a "synthetic mass" with multiple functions as part of the landscape in Heyri Art Valley.