How do you create a family home with less than 100 sq-m of property in a highly-density area in the South Korean capital? With a ‘tall and skinny’ approach, of course. According to architects Seung Teak Lee and Mi Jung Lim from the New-York-and-Seoul-based practice STPMJ, building vertically is becoming more and more popular for South Koreans who seek to express their living values through unconventional spatial qualities.

Their word of choice to describe the five-storey residential project is ‘provocative’: the minimised floor area and towering façade usurps the norm among neighbouring flats. Both angular and curved in construction, the red brick home was built to accommodate a family of five, and houses a studio for the husband’s furniture-making hobby as well as a multi-play room for three daughters.

Arched windows flood light into the space, and introduce a sort of minimal romanticism contrasted by the surroundings, night and day. In fact, these recurrent arcs define a major element for the project: they appear again and again, from a cantilevered area providing car parking on the ground level to a wall that slopes down from the fourth floor.

For a structure that derives its identity from being unconventional, it may seem ironic that STPMJ should use a material like brick – yet the visual poignancy arises in its unexpected use.