OBBA, which stands for Office for Beyond Boundaries Architecture, were asked to design the holiday home by a couple who were moving back to South Korea after living abroad for a long time.
Located in Ganghwa County in the Incheon Metropolitan City north-west of Seoul, The Layers occupies a slender site measuring 86-by-25 metres.
Four staggered, different-sized blocks make up the one-storey building. Openings on the shorter sides provide vistas towards a mountain in the south and a reservoir in the north.
Thick walls extend past the full length of the volumes in order to block views from the western and eastern side, maintaining the residents' privacy.
"Considering it is a second house rather than their daily abode, it was designed to protect privacy, in order for the absence of the residents is inconspicuous," the architects explained.
"Also, since the house was for the elderly couple as the main users, we simplified the spatial structure, avoiding stairs or elevated parts."
The walls also create a series of sheltered garden areas – the northern side is planted with trees, while the southern side hosts a fruit and vegetable patch.
Each of the volumes perform different functions. The entrance and the guest room are placed in the western block, while the study and the master bedroom are located on the eastern side. The main living areas sit in the central fingers.
A corridor cuts through the centre of each volume, separating different spaces in each, like the kitchen from the dining room and the living room and from the study area.
"Although it is viewed as a blocked facade from the road, by entering the building one encounters a wide interior view via a long corridor that penetrates through the four layered spaces," said OBBA.
"Mixed programmes in each layer are naturally separated by the corridor that penetrates them, but at the same time, they are visually and physically connected to further amplify openness of the space."
The stone wall along the entrance remains exposed inside the residence, while the wall in the dining areas is partially clad in grey tiles. The rest of the walls are covered and painted.
Wooden flooring is used throughout the interiors to create a continuity between the different spaces.
OBBA was founded by Sojung Lee and Sangjoon Kwak in 2012. Among the studio's previous projects is an overlooked Gangnam residence with deep-set windows to maintain privacy, an apartment block with perforated brickwork in Seoul's Naebalsan-dong neighbourhood and a house with a feline-sized staircase for a pair of cat-lovers.
Photography is by Kyungsub Shin.
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