Townhouses a new option for Koreans

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Townhouses a new option for Koreans


When it comes to houses, Koreans tastes range from the wide porches of hanoks to upscale high-rises. There are villa houses, “office-tels” and apartments that cost millions of won (thousands of dollars) per square meter. The issue of lifestyle has become a luxury for urban settings in contemporary Korea as architecture is increasingly dominated by the economy of space as a result of soaring real estate prices.
As a compromise for contemporary Koreans who opt for styles of residences that fuse the advantages of apartments and private villas, housing experts have come up with “townhouses” in satellite cities.
Townhouses, which are multistory units connected to each other by common walls, are a relatively new trend in Korea. They’re emerging as cheaper alternatives to owning houses in cities near the suburbs of Seoul, such as Yongin, Paju or Jukjeon.
“It’s becoming an ideal option for people trying to live away from Seoul,” says Kim Hee-jeong, a spokeswoman for JBS, the administrator of Hermann Haus, a large townhouse complex located in Heyri Valley near Paju, Gyeonggi province. “Many are retired couples. Others are tenants of extended families who share the floor. An increasing number of tenants in Seoul also use them as cottages or second homes.”
Townhouses have features that distinguish them from other types of residence. Some ceilings are up to 6 meters (26.2 feet) higher than in apartments; they come with spacious balconies, terraces and parking lots, and often with community amenities such as pools, tennis courts, playgrounds and gardens.
Herman Haus, which calls itself “a penthouse with a private garden,” has curved ceilings made of zinc and symmetrical exteriors finished with glass and steel.
Green Villa, one of the oldest townhouses in Korea, comes with a driving range, a tennis court and swimming pool. The complex, which was considered a prime example of luxury villas, made headlines for having major politicians and entertainers as tenants.
Wald Haus, off the Yangji interchange near Yongin, Gyeonggi province, was based on the concept of “a townhouse complex recommended by top housing designers.”
The seven designers who participated in the Wald’s construction include architect Itami Jun and chief urban planners for major projects.
Security is another attraction of townhouses, as having a neighbor’s home attached to yours often reduces the risk of robbery.
Aside from real estate issues, interest in townhouses also stems from shifting housing trends.
“It’s a new lifestyle,” Ms. Kim says. “They find it amusing to gather on porches and have barbecues together with other neighbors. If you think about it, it’s a life you can’t think about in an apartment in Seoul.”

by Park Soo-mee
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