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Expanding Boundaries and Creating Flow: Smurf Village School | Hyunjoon Yoo

Hyunjoon Yoo Architects

written by
Hyunjoon Yoo
photographed by
Kyungsub Shin
materials provided by
Hyunjoon Yoo Architects
edited by
Bang Yukyung

SPACE Jun 2024 (No. 679) 




Learn Knowledge from Books and Wisdom from Nature 

Korean students are pitiful. They spend almost all their time confined within walls. They play in the living rooms of their apartments rather than in the yard, they are confined to the classroom at school, they study in the private institute classroom in a commercial building after school, and they move everywhere by  private institute bus. Korean students have no chance to commune with nature. As they stay in small spaces without access to nature, they naturally use their smartphones more and play computer games longer. They can only see big spaces through media. 






In order to free students from their small indoor spaces, I intended to design this school like that of a Smurf Village. The yard is right in front of the classroom, and the school building is not overwhelming as it is divided like a detached house. The classrooms, the size of a small house, are arranged at different angles so that there is a diverse outside space from every angle. As students advance to the next year and change classrooms, they will feel like they are studying in a different house rather than the same classroom as the previous year. Schools typically have the staffroom on the ground floor, so students are confined to upstairs classrooms, but this school allows them to go outside to enjoy nature even during a 10-minute break. The library also has a circular courtyard in the centre to provide access to nature. To connect the opened reading room and the auditorium, the entire wall is made of revolving doors so that students can choose their favourite seats to read books or open the doors to the outside. There is a saying that ‘Learn knowledge from books and wisdom from nature.’ This school will be a place to learn wisdom from nature and cultivate students who are open to diversity. 



You can see more information on the SPACE No. June (2024).


Hyunjoon Yoo (Hongik University) + Hyunjoon Yoo A

Design team

Heo Jinsung, Kim Jiho, Choi Taewon, Noh Eunsuk


Songsan-myeon, Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do, Korea


education and research facility

Site area


Building area


Gross floor area


Building scope

B1, 2F





Building to land ratio


Floor area ratio




Exterior finishing

brick, stucco

Interior finishing

water paint

Structural engineer

SEUM Structural Engineering Co., Ltd.

Mechanical engineer

Egon Engineering

Electrical engineer

Electrical Design Hyeob In Co., Ltd.


Seojin Construction Co., Ltd.

Design period

June 2018 – Mar. 2020

Construction period

Mar. 2020 – Mar. 2021


SongSan Middle School

Landscape architect

studio HYMH

Hyunjoon Yoo
Hyunjoon Yoo is a professor at Hongik University and he leads Hyunjoon Yoo Architects. He studied architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Yonsei University, and worked at Richard Meier & Partners Architects. He has won numerous awards both domestically and internationally, including the Chicago Athenaeum Architecture Awards, German Design Award, Young Architect Award, Kim Swoo Geun Architectural Prize Preview Award, and the President’s Prize for Korean Space Culture Awards. He is known as a ‘humanistic architect’ for his diverse books and broadcasts that provide insight into the world through architecture. His YouTube channel, ‘Sherlock Hyunjoon’, currently has 1.23 million subscribers.