Less Is (Still) More

Edited by: Enrico Mancini enrico.mancini@positive-magazine.com

Where: Jeollanam-do, South Korea

Architecture: JYA-RCHITECTS + Mue & Zijn Architects

Proofreading: Bianca Baroni




Usually when you lazily scroll down an architecture blog or a slick design magazine, you realize that when you read a promising head line about low cost projects, 99% of the time it’s a complete let down.

That happens because the meaning of “low budget” is not objective at all.

What I mean when I say low cost is more or less what South Korean JYA-RCHITECTS + Mue & Zijn Architects had in their mind when they team up with non-profit organization Childfund Korea to renovate houses of low-income people living in a very poor environment.

A family of six had lost its house in a fire last October in a village called Beolgyo situated in the southern part of South Korea, and that’s where the charity team decided to start their joint project.




They had to deal with three major problems: space, insulation and light.

The plan was about 50 sqm, the flow of movement was inefficient and restricted and the actual usable space was limited.

There was no insulation at all and, last but not least, the house is facing north and on the south facade tall bamboo trees overshadow the house.


Y:2 PROJECT1301 Low Cost House 1_벌교2 Work2 YWon1 dw



Yes, I forgot to say the fourth main problem: the budget was less than 30 thousand euros.


The architects solved brilliantly the light issue: “By using cheap air caps in the roof, an exceptional method in architecture, we have provided both light and insulation to the house. It was to overlap 25 sheets of air caps with three air layers each to create 75 insulated air layers in total. This air cap-insulated roof was to keep the whole house as light as possible by penetrating sunlight and insulate the space as well.”





The space has been solved by dividing the kids room with a big sliding door that permits them to have their own privacy (they’re two boys and two girls) when closed or to share a wide space for playing or studying together when open.





This house is the proof that is far more difficult and it takes much more efforts to think and build an architecture with this kind of restriction and requirements than building a museum or an airport where the insulation problems are solved with a shiny, slick, million-dollar titanium facade.


Enrico Mancini

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Interview with Irena Kiełb

Interview with Irena Kiełb

edited by silvia conde (silvia

# 3.

# 3.

Edited by: Riccardo Del Fabbro – Architecture Department Editor

You May Also Like