When spotted from the roadside, the upper stories in a recently constructed South Korean home look like an owl’s head – with broad windows imitating large eyes that light up at night.
Artist and architect Moon Hoon, who has a reputation for his quirky and playful designs, is the mastermind behind the 116sqm, four-storey concrete house.
Hoon, although somewhat reluctant to refer to it as ‘the owl home’, was inspired by the nocturnal bird, and has conceded it does look like one.
Concrete frames angling out from the top-storey windows come together to form the bird’s sharp beak, while the glass windows are the architectural equivalent of its glaring eyes – especially when lit up at night.
The body and neck of the owl appear as the two single storey structures set back on the first floor and a smaller two-storey apartment stacked above to one side.
The bird’s ‘wing’ protrudes from the eastern side of the building, housing the home’s main staircase.
Take a closer look inside:
Hoon designed the home for Gwon Taekjun, a fan of his art who works in the security industry and also has young children.
Taekjun wanted a home to reflect a sense of protectiveness and defensiveness, while still being a fun space for his children to interact with inside.
“Considering that [my] client works within the security industry, which makes him stay up all night with glaring eyes, the house really looks like an owl,” Hoon jokes.
Hoon says it’s not the first time an admirer of his paintings has commissioned him for an architectural project.
“As an architect, I’m greatly pleased to have them as my clients because they usually have very strong personalities and an open-minded taste for new things. In addition, many of them are young people who want a special space for their children, and this helps in the creation of a house full of quirks and fun,” he says.
“The view of the night sky [in the ‘owl home’] can be seen through a small circular skylight from the bed in the child’s room, and the hole in the floor leads to a low playing space that is not included in the building coverage or total floor area.
“Although I designed it imagining a child climbing down a pipe through the opening like a firefighter, I had to give it up as the [youngest] client and their parents became concerned at the time of completion.”