Korean architect Moon Hoon is well-known for his remarkable way of bringing contrasting elements—both functionally and materially—together under one roof.
So it is no surprise that he was chosen to design “Sangsang Museum” for his client—a famous commercial photographer who wanted “a modern castle for a Dracula,” his “alter ego.”
The resulting structure is an unusual and ambitious amalgamation of a residence, commercial space, workplace, and a photography studio.
Located in the Mapo district of Seoul, the Sangsang Museum approaches a 20-meters-wide primary road at its north elevation—providing ground level entry to a commercial area—as well as a six-meters-wide perpendicularly-oriented alley which allows for basement and upper level access to the residence.
This condition and the client’s request for privacy brought about this innovative design—with visually disparate façades and purposes—in terms of function and circulation, while allowing for an overall unified massing.
One is clad in soft wood with regular windows and small balconies, while the other maintains its hard concrete exterior with irregular breaks to allow for outdoor patios.
The structure has two visible heads, one is the client’s bedroom, and the other one is an outdoor photo studio. The larger photo studio was initially designed as an outdoor pool for the family but was later canceled.
The disconnected connectedness of the Sangsang Museum—with its dual nature, dead-ends, and private pathways—indeed lends itself to the client’s ideology of an old castle.