We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the 2nd prize winners of our “Yoga House On A Cliff” competition – Heen Sae Noh and Jin Woo Kim from South Korea! 

Architecture Competition Yoga House On A Cliff 2nd prize winners – Heen Sae Noh and Jin Woo Kim

Heen Sae Noh and Jin Woo Kim from South Korea

We are two architects based in Seoul, South Korea, who have different strengths and interests. We share our curiosity and passion for architecture and strive to create a better architectural experience.

Heen Sae Noh works in an architecture studio designing a range of projects after some years of experience with working in a Korean office. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and a Master of Architecture from Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea.

Jin Woo Kim completed a bachelor's degree at Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea, and is working as a junior architect in an atelier. He is active in various fields, such as photography, art, and design, as well as architecture.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/ individuals have been involved?

Heen Sae has mainly worked on architectural projects on an urban scale, such as urban regeneration, master planning, and large public projects. Currently, she is working with small-scale architecture projects, such as dwellings, to explore the essence of architecture.

Jin Woo has experience with winning competitions in several fields and has been working on a wide spectrum of construction projects, from small to large, from inexpensive interiors to high-end houses. Currently, he is designing an office building.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

Architecture is like a joy to me.

Through architecture, a place changes into a new landscape or a familiar space. When looking for a specific element or a small detail in architecture in small details, I feel joy – sometimes from order, and sometimes from a part with singularity. Sometimes I find beauty when structure, function, and form work systematically as one. Even if you use the same materials and construction in the same space, depending on how you do it, architecture can be familiar or distinctive and functional or meaningless. It is also a great pleasure to feel and experience it, and, furthermore, be part of the process of creating the architecture.

There is great power in architecture. Architecture engages with human behavior, community, and social context, and is also closely related to everyday life. The built environment influences people both directly and indirectly. Accordingly, it seems that architects are required to have social responsibility. In particular, in Korea, which began to develop rapidly in a state of blank paper except for some old buildings (such as palaces) after the Korean War in 1950. This situation makes the role of architects working in cities like Seoul even more important. The architecture of our society is weaving a tangled context in the lost history. Architects should pay more attention to the interactions between buildings. This is because each architect is a new beginning to provide a better life for individuals, suggesting directions to the city, and opening a new perspective to society.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Unlike in school, the process of an architecture project is long. It can take up to a year or even a decade to complete a single project. And it takes more time to solve practical problems than to actually do the plan. The competition allows us to think of new ideas and test them out in various projects in different countries that are not usually encountered. Competitions give you the opportunity to think of new things and it will motivate you to work on them.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?

You can grow up only when you change the way you always are. Regardless of whether you are a current student of architecture or not, architecture competitions will give you the opportunity to think of something you wouldn’t normally think of. Through the process of competition, you can test your limits in the world.

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