Century-old Farmhouse On Jeju Island Gets A Whale-inspired Makeover By Z Lab

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South Korean studio Z Lab has renovated a a hundred-year-previous farmhouse on Jeju island, and renamed it Blind Whale in reference to the curves of its two smooth grey roofs .

Blind Whale by Z Lab

Located south of the Korean Peninsula, Jeju Island is a settlement dating back to the 14th century. At one particular time it served as a area of exile for political prisoners, but has now become a well-known destination for travelers.

Blind Whale by Z Lab

Z Lab was tasked with revitalising an old stone farmhouse in the village of Jocheon, on the island’s north coast. The two-winged structures had originally been built with a roof of fishing nets, and the architecture studio sought to recreate the curves using contemporary components.

Blind Whale by Z Lab

“This stone property is deemed to bring luck to people who reside in it,” explained the architects. “In accordance to the Jocheon residents, this stone house has stood for more than one hundred years.”

Blind Whale by Z Lab

“What is a lot more fascinating is the shape of this residence – the rounded roof seems to be like a whale,” they continued. “It was woven from nets and anchored down making use of stones so the wind would not blow it off.”

Blind Whale by Z Lab

The rounded roof is typical of Jeju architecture, and also attributes on a series of rubble-topped villas created by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma on the island in 2013.


Related story: Volcanic stone structures pump fresh water from the sea surrounding a South Korean island


Z Lab utilized aluminium-zinc panels to recreate the curves of the fishing nets, and to reinforce their building’s whale-like physical appearance.

Blind Whale by Z Lab

“We named it following the Blind Whale that is believed to be buried in the sea,” they additional. “The roof looks like two whales that have drifted far from the sea and washed up on the land.”

Blind Whale by Z Lab

The dry stone walls of the framework had been preserved and repaired, as was the standard wooden framework. This is left exposed, making numerous tree-like columns within the house.

Blind Whale by Z Lab

Living rooms and bedrooms are housed in each wings, but the kitchen and dining area is situated in the more substantial of the two blocks. A grass courtyard separates the two volumes.

Blind Whale by Z Lab

Stone blocks form minimal-degree partitions amongst spaces, and there are also some grey brick walls to offer privacy for the bedrooms. The floor level was lowered, and a new window was produced dealing with out to sea.

Blind Whale by Z Lab

The authentic flooring and gates were beyond repair, so had been recycled and manufactured into tables, beds and other pieces of furnishings.


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The house is accessible for quick-term rentals, as component of a programme to market local history and preservation by means of tourism.

Blind Whale by Z Lab

“The aim of the project was to retain the sense of area and current resources the place had to offer,” explained Z Lab. “In the previous, the Jocheon men and women aspired to travel from right here to the mainland but now a lot of people lengthy to come from the mainland to Jeju.”

Blind Whale by Z Lab

“This undertaking also gave us specific that means as to the importance of respect for heritage,” added the team. “It is our hope that this venture will create a precedent for other architects and developers seeking to revitalise classic areas.”

Blind Whale by Z Lab

Other lately finished projects in Jeju consist of a pair of volcanic stone structures that pump fresh water from the sea and a assortment of cafe and exhibition pavilions at a tea plantation.

Photography is by Kim Jae-kyeong.


Project credits:

Architects: Z Lab
Architects in charge: Lee Sang-muk, Noh Kyung-rok , Park Jung-hyun
Furniture layout: Matter&ampMatter
Lighting style: Limas
Development: Zinyong Construction

Blind Whale by Z LabDiagram Blind Whale by Z LabWeb site plan Blind Whale by Z LabFloor prepare Blind Whale by Z LabPart one Blind Whale by Z LabSegment two Dezeen

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