The Korean House - AN EXAMPLE OF URBAN-TYPE HANOK: GAHOE-DONG
|Understanding Korea Series No.5|
|← Previous||A Cultural History of the Korean House||Next →|
|2) Transformation of Hanok in the City||AN EXAMPLE OF URBAN-TYPE HANOK: GAHOE-DONG||3) The Emergence of Multifamily Housing|
During the Joseon period, Gahoe-dong served as a residential area for upper-class citizens, including the royal family, and therefore had a relatively large number of large-scale lots compared to other regions. By the 1930s, however, these lots were divided into smaller parcels sized at around 30 pyeong (99 square meters). A group of new hanok was then built on these lots, leading to Gahoe-dong’s transformation into an urban-type hanok village in the city.
The urban-type hanok residences of Gahoe-dong formed a tree-like street system. This system was formed based on the tendency of such streets to extend in a north-south direction based on the topographic slope of the area. Since most of the lots were directly connected to the sloped road, stairs were installed at the entrance of houses to counter the angle of the hills.
The floor plan of a typical Gahoe-dong urban-type hanok is a U-shape that surrounds the courtyard. Most of these houses had an entrance on the southern or eastern side of the structure. Since urban-type hanok were structured after remaining foundations of past homes, the direction of the entrance was thought of as a primary consideration. Most house entrances faced the east or west side of a U-shaped building opened to the south. Typical houses opened to the south with an eastward-facing entrance. This way, the daecheong had southern exposure while the entrance and kitchen were facing each other. If the entrance of the house was on the north side, then the building opened to the east.
House suppliers used several methods to raise the value of an urban hanok. The room next to the entrance, called a munganbang, was usually available for rent, thus the floor plan was altered to improve the utility of this room. The house’s value was also improved by transforming the tip of the beam into decorative shapes. Moreover, the eaves of the anchae were extended by attaching extra plates and gutters, and a wooden decorative piece was inserted between structural beams and columns. Another way to raise value was to divide the daecheong space to increase this room’s otherwise nominal size. Given that the daecheong space served as a symbolic feature of the hanok, the number of bays occupied by the daecheong became a significant indicator of the owner’s wealth.
- Song In-ho, “Dosihyeong hanok-ui yuhyeong yeongu” (A study on the types of urban hanok) (PhD diss., Seoul National University, 1990), pp. 36–42.
- Jeon Nam-il, Hanguk jugeo-ui gonggansa (Spatial history of Korean houses) (Paju: Dolbegae, 2013), p. 35.
- Song In-ho, “Dosihyeong hanok-ui yuhyeong yeongu” (A study on the types of urban hanok), p.152.
- Ibid., pp. 139–140.
- Jeon BongHee and Kwon Yong-chan, Hanok-gwa hanguk jutaek-ui yeoksa (History of hanok and the Korean House), p. 161.
- Kim Sin-jae, “Geundae dosi jutaek-ui byeoncheon-e gwanhan yeongu” (A study on the transformation of modern urban housing) (master’s thesis, Seoul National University, 1987), p. 63.
- Park Cheol-jin and Jeon BongHee, “1930nyeondae Gyeongseongbu dosihyeong hanok-ui sahoe gyeongjejeok baegyeong-gwa pyeongmyeon gyehoek-ui teukseong” (The socioeconomical background and characteristics of Seoul’s urban type hanok and its floor plan of the 1930s) Daehangeonchukhakhoe nonmunjip (Journal of the Architectural Institute of Korea) 18, No. 7 (July 2002), p. 103.