Mass Studies: Torque House


We’ve all seen Mass Studies all over the internets recently [the firm was featured on MNP a while back – although I was a little harsh] – the Ann Demeulemeester’s store in Seoul, South Korea in particular. I first came across this project, the Torque House, in the February issue of Dwell Magazine – who feature a full page image [the shot below] of the home as a ‘house [they] love’ – and I was compelled to find out more. Located in, Gyeonggi-do, Korea, the project is a three-story, 134-pyeong [I’ve learned from Mass Studies that 1 pyeong equals 3.3 square meters – cool to know] house for a family of four.


Deemed ‘irregular’ by the masterplan due to a curve in the nearby road, the site was programed to house a ‘linear’ building by the planners. This was used by Mass Studies as a basis for the home’s slightly curving volume – described as a building reacting to its surrounding environment – creating the ‘torque’.

As sharp stones are worn down by a flowing stream and transformed into pebbles, a rectangular building becomes torqued through the movement of curves.

Other site conditions – nearby houses, vehicular traffic, etc – were factors in creating the fairly large expanse of solid wall [seen below] on two sides of the house, while the building opens up on the others [particularly in the family space – kitchen + living areas], looking out to the surrounding landscape.


One of the most interesting aspects of the house – much like the Ann Demeulemeester’s store – is the ‘green’ wall treatment. For the Torque House, Mass Studies incorporated a ‘moss catch system‘ [basically a panelized wall system covered in moss] at the suggestion of a local landscaping designer, in the hopes of reducing the ‘spartan’ quality of the large bare walls. Additionally, it serves to absorb noise from the street, further insulate the building, and is ‘green’ [does that whole photosynthesis thing]. Imported from Japan by the previously mentioned landscape company [whose name isn’t given by Mass Studies, oddly], the house is the first building to employ the system – a type of geotextile that has been used to improve the aesthetic quality of roadside retaining walls – in this way.

The product, manufactured by mixing two types of mosses that grow well on both south and north sides, was perfect for applying to this building, and currently sprouts of the mosses are gradually growing on its walls, making it a “synthetic mass” with multiple functions as part of the landscape in Heyri Art Valley.


The project combines working space for both husband and wife [a classical music recording engineer and painter, respectively] with the private living space needed by a small family. Both the atelier for the wife/artist, and the studio for the husband/recording engineer required a level of privacy that was achieved with the previously mentioned long, predominantly solid walls. On the interior, spaces are also separated by private vs public – situating the staircase to allow for visitors going up to the third floor recording studio without disturbing the family’s privacy.


Lastly, we’ve got what I thought was a pretty siiick staircase leading up to a roof terrace, playing on the ‘torque’ of the building. The bend in the concrete wall [image above] to form a ceiling over the stairs offers an interesting frame for a view of the sky while walking up the stairs – while the ‘window’ cut through this wall emphasizes the in-between quality of this space -not in, not out.


::Images + info from Mass Studies – photographers by Yong-Kwan Kim::

Posted: January 22nd, 2008
at 1:41pm by orangemenace

Categories: architecture,green arch,housing,featured ninjas

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  1. Great post. I am just starting my blog as well. Do you find it hard to have something to say, because I don’t feel like natural writer and it seems to come natural for you.


    19 Jul 09 at 3:16 am



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