Grandpa's Cool House

Category A-1 Gold Winner

Category A-1: Single Family Residential Projects
Gold Winner

Award credit: Kichul Lee/Architect-K
Location: Gimhae-si, South Korea
Photography: Yoon Joonhwan

Grandpa’'s Cool House is a retirement home tailored for the “baby boomer” generation—from years 1953 to 1962—referring to the generation who experienced extreme situations in Korea’s modern history, such as the economic development boom during the postwar poverty period; opened democracy against military dictatorship; growing up amid local Korean culture and Confucian values, but in the flow of globalization; and living in the age of capitalist mass culture and global values. The “baby boomer” generation is a multilayered generation that has existed through the many different whirlpools in modern Korean history. 

In the course of modernization and industrialization, native, traditional Korean architecture has largely disappeared, however, still remains as a mainstay of Korean architecture. The Western architecture that was newly introduced over the last half century has also become a significant part of Korean architecture, especially, given changing lifestyles in modern-day Korea.  Both these architecture types are strictly independent and exist on the opposite sides in Korean architecture, and over time blended and gone through their own process of natural evolution.

In many respects, the “baby boomer” generation, often referred to as the intergenerational generation, reflects these traits of blending and evolution observed in today’s Korean architecture. Against this background, the theme of Grandpa’'s Cool House is centered on establishing an identity for the “baby boomer” generation and exploring the modernization of Korean native architecture. 
Spaces in the building have been organized to add modern functionality and contemporary aesthetics, while maintaining the layout and essence of traditional Korean architecture which conforms to nature. A traditional toenmaru (Korea-style terrace) and cheoma (Korean-style eaves) are featured using a corrugated steel sheet and bamboo that grows naturally in Gimhae, South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, to create a modern and natural space. It is hoped that this modern rendition of native Korean architecture that is Grandpa’s Cool House will be a space of comfort, like a countryside village, that will serve all aspects of the lives of the unique “baby boomer” generation.