A vessel that contains life: house

Hanok is a Korean traditional house built with wood and soil. It is well harmonized with nature and gives people emotional touch with scent of the natural materials and sense of the time passed by. Lately, however, it has slowly vanished with introduction of Western culture and their convenient concrete houses.
Architect Choi Sam-Young of Kawa Design lived in Hanok when young and has great interest in Hanok and wooden buildings. Kawa Design has studied light weight wood frame system, while others only focus on rehabilitating Hanoks in their traditional forms. Post-and-lintel system used in Hanok and other wooden buildings is functionally out-of-date for people today to contain their daily lives in and too expensive to be used in the modern society. Thus lightweight wood frame system arose as an alternative method of preserving the values of a house in a practical way.
The significance of a house is that it is a vessel that contains lives of people; it is being a space for people to store and exhibit their values. And an architect is a person who creates that house, thus Architecture is also referred to as Humanities sometimes. Moreover, the name of company Kawa, which means “along with building houses,” implies the notion that Kawa Design pursues.

kawaArchitect Choi, Sam Young
– KAWA Design Group Architect.
– Worked the SPACE Group.
– Guest Researcher, Waseda University in Japan Dept, of Architecture.



The ultimate goal of various activities done by people in a house is simply for them to be happy; a house is a space to contain not only their bodies but also their spirits. A house interacts with the outside through doors and windows. When people pass through the doors and leave their houses, they enter into different lives; parents go to work, and children go to school or playgrounds. When they come back, open the door and get into their houses, they lessen the tension and rest, feeling secured. So the ultimate purpose of building a house is making people a meaningful space they can find happiness, which is the goal of life, and that is the architect’s job. Hence, it is a very fundamental attitude for architects to consider lives of people carefully.

Kawa Design demonstrates this meaning of house with their wooden buildings. Before he first applied it to their wooden building constructions, architect Choi Sam-Young attempted to examine the light weight wood frame system by building his own house with this system. He is still getting involved in constructions and studying the theories and practical uses of wood frame since then. Majority of the wooden building structures used in Korea today is the light weight wood frame system that is imported from Canada and North America, so some of them might not be proper for weathers and the sentiment of Korea. It is hence very important to invent and develop systems that would fit the weathers and the sentiment of Korea. Also, wood frame is easy to dissemble, eco-friendly for it is easy to recycle, and flexible with changing paradigm for human life for it is portable. Thus the usability of wood frame is increasing in various building structures, from detached houses to urban constructions, and their interiors and exteriors.
Kawa Design will handle many different construction systems other than wooden frame as well and furthermore make the best vessels that contain dreams of people with humble attitudes to nature and kindness to people.

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