By Anita Draycott
Surrounded by the spectacular 27-hole Whistling Rock golf course and carved into wooded foothills of Chuncheon, South Korea, the golf clubhouse at Whistling Rock is an architectural structure that takes its place among the largest and most beautifully appointed buildings of its kind in Asia.
Designed by Francine Houben of Mecanoo Architects (Delft, The Netherlands), the clubhouse, opened in September 2011, was developed with the kind of site sensitivity and environmental awareness for which the firm is known. The 201,434-square-foot rectilinear building, set on an east-west axis, provides a distinct contrast between the existing mountain ridge and the cultivated landscape beyond it.
The clubhouse, which longer than a football field, has several distinctive architectural flourishes. For example, the wooden façade is capable of folding in and out, creating easy access to the clubhouse’s Turkish travertine belvedere, where members can enjoy panoramic views of rolling fairways, cascading waterfalls and distant mountains. The accordion-like facade serves to frame the golf course and opens up interior spaces to the outdoors.
The building concept consists of two travertine stone slabs that seem to float above the surrounding landscape and appear as a beacon from various points on the golf course. An array of internal and external patios cross these monolithic slabs to create unique outdoor spaces and art gardens. According to the architect, “iconic spaces” were designed to project their own unique identity and spatial experience inside and outside the edifice.
“A sensory story of scents, views and textures unravels in the contrasting interior elements of light and dark, soft and hard, smooth and rough, natural and manmade,” Houben explains.
IMAGES: 1 Lobby | 2 Dining Room | Locker Room | Private Dining Room
In every way, the Whistling Rock clubhouse far exceeds the category of a typical golf clubhouse. First and foremost, the clubhouse resembles a museum, a place where members and their guests are invited to celebrate culture and nature. Paintings and sculptures can be viewed on the walls and patios. Simple forms—notably the white ceilings–accent the interior spaces of the clubhouse. Travertine floors and brushed steel framework create harmony and balance. Form follows function: several of the clubhouse floors are connected by spiral staircases. Working fireplaces are also featured throughout the building.
Reflecting the parent company’s pre-eminence as a wine importer, a prestigious collection of more than 100,000 bottles of wine from around the world is on display within a series of subterranean temperature-controlled cellars. An exclusive wine room with a vaulted brick ceiling is situated within the cellar to serve as fine dining venue for special occasions. Above the wine cellar, the VIP entrance to the clubhouse allows a glimpse into Whistling Rock’s impressive wine collection upon arrival
IMAGES: 1 Wine Tasting Room | 2 Pro Shop | 3 Lobby | 4 Balcony
The Whistling Rock clubhouse contains Korean, American and European-style menus as well as display kitchens, eight private dining rooms for social and corporate events, and The Garden.
The full-service men’s and women’s locker rooms feature plunge pools, Jacuzzis and interior landscaping. The men’s locker room, for example, has a Zen-like bamboo garden set within a water pool that is illuminated from above by a large skylight.
From the large Venetian glass chandelier that graces the main entrance to its epic scale, Whistling Rock’s clubhouse is an architectural tour de force and a perfect fit for Korea’s premier private club.