Pangyo Housing by Riken Yamamoto
Pangyo Housing by Riken Yamamoto | © Kouichi Satake

Japanese architect Riken Yamamoto has been named the winner of this year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize for his buildings, which are a “background and foreground to everyday life.”

In contemporary architecture, the Pangyo Housing by Riken Yamamoto represents a significant shift towards more communal living and environmental awareness. Located approximately an hour and a half by car from downtown Seoul in the newly developed town of Seongnam, this low-rise housing complex serves the housing needs of 100 low-income families. It also acts as a dynamic model, showcasing what the future of living together in communities could look like, blending individual needs with shared spaces and sustainable design principles.

Pangyo Housing Technical Information

Architecture is not about creating a space, but about creating relationships.

– Riken Yamamoto 1

Pangyo Housing Photographs

Pangyo Housing by Riken Yamamoto
© Nam Goongsun
Pangyo Housing by Riken Yamamoto
© GA Photographers
Pangyo Housing by Riken Yamamoto
© Nam Goongsun
Pangyo Housing by Riken Yamamoto Artisan Photography Kouichi Satake
© Artisan Photography

A Visionary Approach to Community Living

Initiated by an international competition in February 2006, hosted by the Korea National Corporation, Riken Yamamoto, alongside Pekka Helin (Finland) and Mark Mack (USA), were selected to bring forth a vision that intertwines architectural innovation with environmental sensibility.

The resulting project, Pangyo Housing, emerges as a model of creative and environmentally friendly low-rise multi-family housing, diverging from typical high-density developments prioritizing privacy over community.

Yamamoto’s design philosophy for Pangyo Housing is deeply rooted in the concept of “Shiki,” a term that translates to a large porch or a transparent space employed within each housing unit. This space, located on the second level, serves multiple functions – from a drawing room to a home office or an atelier, fostering a versatile environment that resonates with its inhabitants’ unique needs and personalities. The introduction of Shiki not only serves as a physical space but embodies a metaphorical bridge, connecting the individual to the community, thus blurring the lines between private and communal living spaces.

Central to the design is the innovative clustering of residences, where approximately nine to thirteen units form a cluster, each spanning three to four stories. These clusters are interconnected through communal decks, further emphasizing the project’s ethos of community and interaction.

The communal deck facilitates physical movement across the clusters and fosters a sense of belonging and interaction among the residents. Post-completion, the housing complex has transformed into a dynamic community, brimming with the unique identities of its residents, showcasing a departure from the isolation often found in urban living environments.

In the larger context of contemporary architectural trends, Pangyo Housing challenges the conventional notions of residential design. In contrast to standard housing developments focused solely on privacy, Yamamoto’s approach generates interaction within the community, proposing a new typology for future housing complexes that harmonize family privacy with neighborhood connections.

Pangyo Housing Plans

Pangyo Housing by Riken Yamamoto Artisan Photography Kouichi Satake site plan
Site Plan | © Riken Yamamoto
Pangyo Housing by Riken Yamamoto Artisan Photography Kouichi Satake sections
Section | © Riken Yamamoto
Pangyo Housing by Riken Yamamoto Artisan Photography Kouichi Satake plans
Floor Plans | © Riken Yamamoto

The Hotakubo Housing Complex Image Gallery

About Riken Yamamoto

Riken Yamamoto, born on April 15, 1945, in China, is a renowned Japanese architect who is celebrated for his innovative contributions to contemporary architecture. After graduating from Nihon University and furthering his studies at the Tokyo University of the Arts, Yamamoto has built a distinguished career characterized by his commitment to creating spaces that foster community and blend harmoniously with their environment. His approach to design emphasizes the importance of social interaction within architectural spaces, creating buildings that serve functional purposes and act as vibrant communal hubs. With a portfolio that includes many projects, such as the Yamakawa Villa, the Fussa City Hall, and the Local Community Area, Yamamoto’s work is recognized globally, culminating in receiving the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Notes & Additional Credits
  1. Design Principal: Riken Yamamoto
  2. Project Architect: Nahoko Yoshii, Sang-Woo, Sung, Kiyoshi Nishikura, Motoki Yamamoto, Kei Imai, Mio Tachibana, Tomohiro Tanaka, Ai Kubota
  3. Associate Architects: In-Sun Hahm, Kyung-Ran Kim, Jung-Ho Shin, Ho-Hun Lee, Hyunseck Song, Jangjun Seo
  4. Structural Engineer: Structural Design Office Plus One Co., Ltd., Hyungsang Engineering
  5. MEP/FP Engineer: SOGO Consultants, Daepyung Engineering Co., Ltd., Samwoo Electric
  6. Contractor: Hanyang Corporation