Sajik-dong House / Image courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government
On 30 March 30, Sajik-dong House designed by architect Kim Chung-up was registered as Valuable Architecture Asset no. 12 by Seoul Metropolitan Government. After being purchased as part of Seoul Housing & Communities Corporation’s Empty House Project in February 2021, it was left vacant for more than a year and was about to be demolished until it took on a new use value as the exhibition space for ‘Don’t Worry, House Renovation’ held in 2021 as part of a house renovation support project. Built in 1983, Sajik-dong House is a masonry building of two aboveground floors and one basement floor, and its original state in terms of structure and material is well-preserved even today. According to ‘OPENHOUSE Seoul 2021’, Kim Chung-up sought to use the site properties to shape the house, to ‘enact a meaningful drama within it’, and had commented that his ‘principle of designing a house has been well-captured’. Considering its historical value in terms of how it represents the outer appearance and characteristics of a luxury residence in the 1980s, its landscape value for harmonising and engaging with the low-rise hills and nature, and its artistic value for being designed by a well-known architect, Sajik-dong House was highly rated for its value and it was thus determined for registration as a Valuable Architecture Asset. Unlike registered cultural heritage sites, which focus on preserving building assets that are of 50 years and older (covered in No. 652), Valuable Architecture Assets focus on use and functionality and even consider modern and contemporary buildings without limits on date of construction as long as they are of value and significance to the region and local society. A Valuable Architecture Asset is assigned upon request by the building owner and a review by the architecture committee, and for the purpose of preserving its unique properties, one may also receive relief from certain legal restrictions such as Building Act and Parking Lot Act. Including Gong Gong Il Ho (former Samtoh Building) designed by Kim Swoo-geun and this Sajik-dong House, there are currently 12 Valuable Architecture Assets registered in Seoul.