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Korean Guesthouse

Monterey, CA


This project is a guest house designed as a contemporary interpretation of Hanoak, a traditional Korean house.  The setting is in a secluded hillside area situated in a pine forest overlooking Carmel Valley and Point Lobos to the southwest. 

 It was the desire of the Owner to incorporate the aesthetic simplicity, materials and context of the Hanoak.

 The house was sited to nestle into the southwesterly sloping hill at the end of an old access road.  This afforded an exterior area for outdoor functions and a meadow.  The orientation of the main entry porch and view from the living area capture distant views filtered through the pine forest.  The entry porch layout is designed to provide a stage for grandchildren to perform their family tradition of putting on plays.

 The structure is based on the tradition of nail-free joining techniques allowing parts of the frames and support beams to remain exposed even after applying finishes.  The traditional houses were built on granite foundations with base stones to support large posts, which then supported the floor, and cross beams.  This particular design is the structure of a oryang (five cross beams). Walls were created by an infill core wall and stucco.  The doors and windows were then framed by posts and often occupied the entire wall.

 Interior finishes were finished with rice paper covered walls, doors, windows, and with thick oiled paper on a portion of the floors.  Wood floors were composed of closely spaced girders with infill planks. 

 Particularly challenging was creating a structure that incorporated the Hanoak architectural elements yet satisfied today’s California building codes.  Steel plates and fasteners were embedded within heavy timber joinery details to meet seismic and structural codes.  The foundation required caissons and grade beams. Precast concrete bases emulate granite base stones.  The roof was particularly challenging, disguising required insulation, fire sprinklers and yet expressing and supporting a traditional Korean roof design.

 The tile roofing, doors, windows, hardware, rice paper flooring, abd rice paper wall covering were imported from Korea.  The designs of the windows and doors were researched and designed specifically for the project, then they were sent to Korea for manufacturing.  The design of the roof was sent to a Korean roofing company who then sent two Korean roofers to execute the tile installation.