Jeju Island Tea House, Korea
The design of this single-family residence in a suburb on the south-eastern coast of Puerto Rico is based on several key ideas.
Firstly, the house is introverted away from the suburban street front and extroverted towards the view of the ocean on the eastern side. The façade is essentially a blank wall, lacking in features, whereas the back of the house is an open space defined by a roof supported on slender steel columns. From front to back the house becomes increasingly open, layer by layer. The house is half sunken into the landscape to further accomplish the goal of a closed-off frontage but open back, as well as following the existing contours of the land.
The house uses passive means of ventilation and illumination. To achieve this, the frontal view is characterized by distinctive ‘hot air chimneys’ that double as skylights. These elements are opened on the opposite side to the prevailing wind direction, to create a suctioning effect that continuously circulates air, while illuminating the interior spaces.
The house is located near the point where hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. In order to create protection from such devastating atmospheric events, a hurricane resistant canvas-like material, that easily retracts like a curtain, was installed in front of windows and on parts of the terrace. When these are closed, they resemble in some way the work of the artist Christo in the manner in which they completely enclose and define spaces and forms. This material also allows for light to subtly enter into the interiors. Usually, hurricane shutters are an unwelcome accessory in many structures, yet this solution incorporates this protective feature as an integral part of the main architectural expression.
The house is constructed using an insulated concrete system (GCT), with a high R value, that makes it extremely efficient in terms of cooling. In the tropical environment of Puerto Rico, most concrete structures are not insulated and therefore allow the extreme heat to pass through. The plaster on the house is a structural mortar that continues to insulate the interior of the wall. The floor of the house, finished in polished exposed concrete, is the only structural element without insulation since it is not needed in this climate.
The house’s compact layout feels spacious, largely because it opens up to a terrace that celebrates outdoor living and which links the house to the exterior. The small infinity pool on the terrace (which doubles as a cistern) connects the long views to the horizon, and brings the ocean to the interior of the house.
Project: Jeju Island Tea House / Location: Jeju Island, South Korea / Architects: Álvaro Siza, Carlos Castanheira / Office in Portugal: CC&CB, Architects, Lda; Project coordinator in Portug al: Diana Vasconcelos / Collaborators in Portugal: Adele Pinna, João Figueiredo, Francesca Tiri, Nuno Campos / Office in Korea: M.A.R.U. Metropolitan Architecture Research Unit / Project Coordinator in Korea: Jong Kyu Kim / Collaborators in Korea: Min Kim / Structural engineer: Paulo Fidalgo- HDP – Construction And Engineering Projects, Lda. / Mechanical Installations: M.A.R.U. Metropolitan Architecture Research Unit / Electricity: M.A.R.U. Metropolitan Architecture Research Unit / Construction company:Daelim / Carpentry works: Henriques e Rodrigues,Lda. / Metalwork: NORFER / Design: 2014~2018 / Construction: 2017~2018 / Photograph: ⓒPark Wansoon(courtesy of the architect)