South Korean architect Moon Hoon walks through his newest project with a sense of mischief. Tracing the bright yellow lines with his finger, he says, “Architecture has been about reality, but also about fantasy.”
That’s exactly what he set out to accomplish with his Pumda Pool Villa in the sleepy southern seaside town of Namhae, South Korea.
Stacked and staggered, the villas mimic the surrounding rice terraces while the colors take their cue from the sea life. Moving through each villa, there are distinct themes: circles to symbolize bubbles, hexagons as the shape of water molecules and large overhangs as a reference to traditional Korean architecture.
The design may seem like a daring addition to this hillside, but Hoon believes vacation homes should feel special. After all, these spaces are intended for play, relaxation and joy.
This isn’t even the most imaginative of Hoon’s projects. In the past he’s made buildings with protruding horns and candy-colored swirls.
Hoon sees his sense of humor as a perfect fit for South Korea.
“It’s an old country, like 5,000 years old, but since modern times, it’s really young and teenager-ish. So when there are so many changes, architecture can be kind of free because the context doesn’t dictate anything,” he says.
“I would want to be known as an architect who has expanded the boundary of architecture. Can architecture do that? Can it go that far? Does it have to go that far? Is it right to go there? Is it silly to go that far? Is it good to go that far?”