Duplex House (A “Peanut” House)

Prefabricated wall panels being erected by crane in downtown area filled with high-rise concrete apartments.

Completed Peanut house

By Jae Chol Choi

A “Peanut” house is a new prevailing terminology among many first time home buyers in Korea representing a duplex house (two family units in one lot) like a peanut (two nuts in one shell). This new terminology created by Mr. H.Y. Lee, a principal architect of Kwangjang Architect Group has been introduced to the public recently.

Since it was introduced by a local daily newspaper last August, it has greatly impacted young couples living in a high-rise apartment downtown. Mr. Lee said, “Since then this new conceptual housing-type is gaining the sympathy from many people all over the country”. As a result, lots of design orders have been made and several of them are currently being constructed.” He set three practical goals for his first “Peanut” house project, which are 1) cost competitiveness over the same size concrete apartment unit; 2) reduction in construction time; and 3) low maintenance.
“There was nothing other than the wood frame construction method to meet those three requirements. The data gained through the first Peanut house project showed that choosing wood frame construction was the key to resolve the problems we faced in the past.” He said with satisfaction.

Still many young Korean people live in a high-rise concrete apartment because it is expensive to own a house with a garden, especially in the downtown area with well-furnished infrastructure.

But the Peanut house provides an affordable option for them to own their dream house with a garden in the downtown area. Mr. Lee took his first step into the wood frame industry by designing the first 4-storey wood frame multi-family homes in Korea (NRCan’s Korean demo project), and takes the lead in the popularization of wood frame housing by introducing the Peanut house.

Receiving two prizes at the Korea Wood Design Awards 2010 with the above two projects, Mr. Lee made an additional remark; “I am planning to design and build 100 Peanut houses, total building area is about 300 m², all over the country this year and the demand of Peanut houses expects to be increased gradually.”