Butterfly House – Donner Sorcinelli Architecture

The Italian studio Donner Sorcinelli Architecture had the chance to design a house in Gapyeong, near Seoul. Not only is it interesting to see that an international firm was hired to design a house in the suburbs of Seoul, but to see their take on Korean architecture is quite insightful too; especially the way they link Nature and Architecture. The information they sent Koreanarchitecture.com concerning the project is after the break.

Also, to know more about the firm and their different projects, please visit:


The Butterfly house is located near green hills, in the country of Gapyeong (50 km north east from Seoul), which cultural and environmental context has deeply influenced the concept of the building.

A building is considered sustainable according to how well it integrates with the natural elements of the surrounding landscape and with the habits of its inhabitants. This thought has been the springboard for designing a ‘house system’ in which the respect for local housing tradition (deeply linked to nature), affordability, the energy saving features of the building and the integration with the surrounding environment well blend together, following the principles of feng shui.

The house is based on two units, one for a family, the other for grandparents, and his figure is defined by large panoramic terraces, shaped like the wings of a butterfly, open through the landscape.

Sustainability, affordability and the visual relation with the surrounding landscape are the main focuses of the project, developed through local cheap technological solutions, natural ventilation, high insulation and large windows and terraces shaped like the wings of a butterfly. These elements characterize not only the articulated figure of the building, defining masses, voids, translations and rotations, but also becoming passive systems able to optimize solar radiation and wind collectors able to catch summer breezes too. During Winter, terraces work as barriers versus cold winds, protecting the house from bad weather. The building orientation follows climatic and functional reasons: optimization of natural ventilation and sunshine inside the apartments during the year.

01_south west view 01 02_west view 01 03_north view 02

Project Credits

 Title Butterfly House

Site Gapyeong, South Korea

Client Private

Construction april – september 2010

Project december 2009 – april 2010

Program no. 2 apartments

Built Surface 217 sq.m.

Footprint 180 sq.m.

Architects:Donner Sorcinelli Architecture http://www.donner-sorcinelli.it

Design team : Luca Donner (team leader), Francesca Sorcinelli


Local Architect Studio NakHyunJae, Nak-yong Choi, Seong Bong Yun

Works Manager NR2, Jun-bo Sim

Construction Management NR2, Sang-chun Lee

Project‘ s Awards

  • Highly Commended,Cityscape Architecture Awards 2010” residential future category, Dubai (UAE)

  • Honorable Mention, “MA PRIZE 2011’’, Atlanta (USA)

  • Shortlisted Nominee,Cityscape Architecture Awards 2011” residential built category, Dubai (UAE)

  • Winner,“20+10+X world architecture Awards 2012”, 10th cycle Paris (France)

  • Shortlisted, “PREMIO ARCHITETTURA CITTA’ DI ODERZO”, XIII edition, Italy

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1 Response to Butterfly House – Donner Sorcinelli Architecture

  1. I have always loved the beautiful architecture and the phenomenal including the works above.
    We will use the above article as my reference work on our website http://www.arsitek-banten.com.

    Arsitek Tangerang.

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