April 23, 2024

Architectural Design Kingdom

Home is where the heart is

IROJE KHM Architects’ residential design takes inspiration from sailboats

5 min read

Along the serene coast of the Yellow Sea, IROJE KHM Architects’ aptly named ‘Sailing House’ appears as a giant sailboat, floating across the vibrant city of Seoul in South Korea. Only when one gets closer to the structure does the building reveal its true and complete form. Its four sail-like roofs slope in different directions, encompassed by greenery through its manicured landscape design, this distinctive project is a retirement home for a Korean family. The arresting visuals of the home showcase several unique architectural elements that connect it to the sea. In addition, the angular form of the roofs translates to a distinctive interior spatial identity.



  • For the architecture of the Sailing House, IROJE KHM Architects was inspired by the angular profile of sails | Sailing House | IROJE KHM Architects | STIRworld
    For the architecture of the Sailing House, IROJE KHM Architects was inspired by the angular profile of sails Image: Jeong Sik Mun






  • The architects turned the angle of each room away from neighbouring buildings and towards the sea so that each space offers unobstructed vistas of the sea| Sailing House | IROJE KHM Architects | STIRworld
    The architects turned the angle of each room away from neighbouring buildings and towards the sea so that each space offers unobstructed vistas of the sea Image: Sergio Pirrone



For the architectural design of the Sailing House, the Korean architects were inspired by the angular profile of sails. The home has been thoughtfully conceptualised to blend with its scenic natural landscape. The architects turned the angle of each room away from neighbouring buildings and towards the sea so that each space had unobstructed coast vistas. According to the architectural studio, the owner of this home and his family picked this seaside home alongside Incheon Bridge as their last nest after living a nomadic life in crowded cities. The home’s inherent axis extends into distant seascapes as part of its panoramic spatial orientation.



  • The home has been thoughtfully conceptualised to blend with its scenic natural surroundings | Sailing House | IROJE KHM Architects | STIRworld
    The home has been thoughtfully conceptualised to blend with its scenic natural surroundings Image: Sergio Pirrone






  • The rooms feature outdoor terraces that are connected to an exterior pathway, which provides spectacular views of the sea | Sailing House | IROJE KHM Architects | STIRworld
    The rooms feature outdoor terraces that are connected to an exterior pathway, which provides spectacular views of the sea Image: Sergio Pirrone



The Sailing House’s architecture visually and experientially marries land and sea. Each room is fitted with an outdoor terrace which in turn is attached to a flying promenade. This feature of the building architecture acts as an observatory deck. In addition to creating visual connections to the sea, the architecture firm introduced the element of water in the form of a serene pond and a waterfall, creating an experiential link between the home and the sea.



  • The house also accommodates a courtyard with serene water features | Sailing House | IROJE KHM Architects | STIRworld
    The house also accommodates a courtyard with serene water features Image: Sergio Pirrone






  • The Sailing House is an excellent example of biophilic design | Sailing House | IROJE KHM Architects | STIRworld
    The Sailing House is an excellent example of biophilic design Image: Sergio Pirrone



The residential architecture project incorporates all the tenets of tropical architecture. Reminiscent of a tropical resort, this home allows its residents to be one with nature every day. The outdoor pathway that connects each room also extends around a verdant courtyard bearing one of the home’s water features, with stepping stones to assist walking across it and a waterfall adding to the tranquillity of the home. Nature is let in through expansive sliding windows and doors throughout the house. The home’s courtyard allows for a natural breeze, keeping it at a comfortable temperature.



  • Each room has direct access to the outdoors via terraces | Sailing House| IROJE KHM Architects | STIRworld
    Each room has direct access to the outdoors via terraces Image: Sergio Pirrone






  • The home’s architecture is aesthetically pleasing and functional at the same time | Sailing House| IROJE KHM Architects | STIRworld
    The home’s architecture is aesthetically pleasing and functional at the same time Image: Sergio Pirrone



To enter the home, guests take a staircase from the garage in the basement, while visitors can walk up to the home’s three levels via a dramatic staircase design located on one corner of the home. Each floor of the villa has a different relationship to the outdoors. The Sailing House’s outdoor pathway leads to the different rooms that have white walls, floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the courtyard, and comfortable furnishings, which help in crafting a restful space for the residents and guests.



  • The courtyard of the Sailing House brings nature closer to the residents | Sailing House| IROJE KHM Architects | STIRworld
    The courtyard of the Sailing House brings nature closer to the residents Image: Sergio Pirrone






  • The dining room is designed to encourage conversation and socialising | Sailing House| IROJE KHM Architects | STIRworld
    The dining room is designed to encourage conversation and socialising Image: Sergio Pirrone



The interiors of the Sailing House by IROJE KHM Architects are contemporary and luxurious. The colour palette primarily features white, with pops of colour coming from the furniture pieces. While the furnishings are stylish, the soft furnishings are cosy, inviting visitors and residents to relax and be comfortable. The colour scheme of the interior spaces is purposefully chosen to be subdued to complement the outside landscape. The minimalist design aesthetic helps keep the focus on the views outside. Furthermore, the angular roof helps craft an intimate ambience in the bedrooms and the outdoor terraces and pathway give residents direct access to nature from each room.



The outdoor courtyard features a tranquil waterfall and a pond | Sailing House| IROJE KHM Architects | STIRworld
The outdoor courtyard features a tranquil waterfall and a pond Image: Sergio Pirrone


However, the heart of the interiors of the Sailing House is the double-height living space, which is connected to a glass-enclosed dining area. The living and dining areas boast floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the calming courtyard and waterfall. The furnishings of these spaces were curated to foster socialising and conversation. The living room features a cosy blue L-shaped sofa, and the dining room has an eight-person dining table. From the expansive living area, residents can walk up to intimate corners and compact bedrooms on various levels of the home. In addition to the living area and bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, the Sailing House also features a home theatre, a study room, a tea room, and a jacuzzi with a skylight.



  • The heart of the interiors of the Sailing House is the double-height living space | Sailing House| IROJE KHM Architects | STIRworld
    The heart of the interiors of the Sailing House is the double-height living space Image: Sergio Pirrone






  • The living and dining areas both boast floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the calming courtyard | Sailing House| IROJE KHM Architects | STIRworld
    The living and dining areas both boast floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the calming courtyard Image: Sergio Pirrone



As per the studio’s website, the architects designed a theatrical living space to foster bonding between the family members. According to the firm, in modern Korean society, families come together rarely in everyday life. Therefore, they conceptualised a theatrical public living space with an arresting panoramic seascape and designed the flow of individual rooms via this vertical living space where every family member can spend quality time with each other.



L: Each bedroom has direct access to nature; R: The home also houses a jacuzzi with a skylight | Sailing House| IROJE KHM Architects | STIRworld
L: Each bedroom has direct access to nature; R: The home also houses a jacuzzi with a skylight Image: Sergio Pirrone


Project Details

Name: Sailing House

Location: Unnam-dong, Jung-gu, Incheon City, Korea

Site area: 495.00 ㎡

Bldg. area: 246.27 ㎡

Gross floor area: 375.96 ㎡

Architect: Hyo Man Kim – IROJE KHM Architects

Design team: Kim-Dam Hee, Park-Nae Jung, Kim-Ga Young, Kim-Ye Ji, Kim-Jae Kyung

Structure: Concrete Rahmen

Exterior finishing: Fluoride paint, Exposed concrete

Interior finishing: Urethane paint, Epoxy paint, Lacquer

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