Clay plaster for Sulwhasoo Flagship Store and Osulloc Teahouse, Seoul

Fine-grained reinforced finishing clay plaster TerraVista Plus Smooth in a wide range of colours applied on walls and ceilings

Fine-grained reinforced finishing clay plaster TerraVista Plus Smooth in a wide range of colours applied on walls and ceilings of the Sulwhasoo Bukchon Flagship Store-Osulloc Teahouse Bukchon complex in Gahoe-dong, Seoul. Project by One O One. Photography by Kim Inchul

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About the project

The “Gahoe-dong DUZIP” restoration project focuses on rejuvenating the historic city center within Seoul’s city walls, playing a pivotal role in Seoul’s urban fabric by aiming to restore the functionality of the historic center while emphasizing its significance as a site that can elucidate the choice of location for Hanyang, the ancient name for Seoul.

 
The initiative seeks to bring past residential structures, specifically hanoks from the 1930s and yangoks from the 1960s, into the contemporary era, simultaneously offering an opportunity to explore Seoul’s modern housing history over the last century. Through meticulously defined renovation principles and criteria for creative restoration, the project moves beyond mere formal preservation of buildings to embrace an approach grounded in the UNESCO Venice Charter’s criteria, focusing on maintaining the spirit of the place rather than its original physical form.
 
The goal is to rediscover Korean aesthetics through the integration of hanok and yangok, thereby fostering a merger of modernity with traditional aesthetics. The Gahoe-dong area, with its vivid and colorful four seasons, becomes a metaphor for a path (Ilboilgyeong, meaning “one step, one view”) that visually experiences the seasons through hanok and yangok architecture.
 
The project also entails creating a visual connection between the street and the buildings by demolishing a six-meter-high retaining wall and constructing a courtyard between them to allow light to penetrate, thus emphasizing the interaction between interior and exterior spaces and the beauty of Korean architecture that begins with the varied heights of Gidan and the elegant beauty of the open Daecheong.
 
Choi Wook, the principal of ONE O ONE Architects, leads this project with a philosophy that values thought over form, basing architecture on the importance of the connection between the inside and the outside. His education and career, encompassing studies in Korea and Italy and international collaborations, reflect a holistic approach to architecture that seeks to harmonize innovation and tradition.
 

In this context, Architect Choi Wook has made a deliberate choice to use MATTEOBRIONI’s clay finishing products for walls and ceilings, reflecting a commitment to sustainability and eco-friendliness, crucial aspects in contemporary architecture. MATTEOBRIONI products not only respect the environment through their eco-sustainable nature but also offer a high aesthetic profile that seamlessly integrates with the pre-existing building.

 
The use of natural clay for interior finishes significantly contributes to the recovery of the sense of place, emphasizing the connection with Korean construction traditions and the earth itself. These materials, known for their thermal regulation and humidity control properties, enhance the quality of interior spaces while ensuring a healthy environment for occupants. Furthermore, the understated and natural aesthetic of clay perfectly aligns with Choi Wook’s design philosophy, aiming to create architectures that think beyond form, valuing the relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces and between tradition and modernity.
 
By incorporating MATTEOBRIONI’s clay finishing products, the “Gahoe-dong DUZIP” project becomes an exemplary illustration of how architecture can contribute to environmental sustainability without sacrificing elegance and aesthetic harmony. This material choice reflects a holistic construction approach that considers environmental impact, occupant health, and aesthetic integrity as fundamental components of a successful project.
 
Photography: Kim Inchul, courtesy of ONE O ONE factory

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