Share house is a type of housing where each resident has a room of their own but shares the kitchen, living room and bathroom with the others.
While share house is common overseas, share houses receive more public attention nowadays as television reality shows like “Roommate,” a program based on celebrities living in a share house, are emerging.
The founder and also the manager of Habizae, Seo Hyuk-jun (Graduate school of Hongik University) gradually developed Haebizae’s concept under the concept of art.
First, he began to share a flat with four different aspiring artists who needed place to paint. He understood the hardship of getting a place to work on art pieces, as an art student himself. Then, he increased the number of people he shared the apartment with to seven people. Motivated by his own experience of living in a small share house community, he ambitiously set up a share house near Gyeongbokgung station in a house of four stories that accommodate up to 18 people. To add some taste of art to a living space, Seo decorated each floor under the themes- Audrey Hapbern, Beatles, and motherhood.
“I gave a story to each floor of Habizae to make residents’ stay more meaningful,” Seo said. “I also wanted the location of the first Habizae to be somewhere not crowded and at the same time not so far from the main streets. There is fresh air and many small galleries near Habizae, which I believe is a perfect background for young people to plan out their future.”
Living in Habizae has two advantages: it is economical and friendly. It provides rooms with an excellent price offer compared to other single housing choices available in Seoul. The residents of Habizae not only considered the economic aspects of a share house, but also the close relationship that can be built with other residents in choosing Habizae.
“It means a lot to me that there is someone who will greet me or ask me how I spent my day when I come back from school,” said Noh Yeong-hoon, a resident of Habizae. “By living here, I got a chance to talk to a curator, barista and artists. It is a great opportunity to dwell with people from many different fields which gave me a chance to think in a broader perspective.”
Ever since the opening of the first Habizae, Seo has been planning on developing more Habizae share houses around university campuses. The second Habizae will open in Sinchon this November. There are many universities in the Sinchon area, so that demand for better and more affordable housing is always high. Seo is busy adding finishing touches to the second Habizae. Again, it will be a four stories house, but the first floor will be a gallery for both residents and neighbors.
“I dream of Habizae becoming a brand of cultural complex where residents can live and take cultural benefits at the same time,” Seo said. “I hope young people who begin to form their social relationship learn from others by living in a share house in the upcoming Habizae in Sinchon.”