The Korean House - THE TERM APARTMENT
|Understanding Korea Series No.5|
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|3) The Emergence of Multifamily Housing||THE TERM APARTMENT||1) Transformation in Korean Housing aft er Liberation|
THE TERM APARTMENT
The term “apartment” was imported from Japan in the 1920s. The first example of a building described using this term appeared in an article introducing the Japanese project known as Apartment of Dojunkai, published in Joseon-gwa Geonchuk (Joseon and Architecture) in 1925 by the Architectural Association of Joseon. Then, until the mid-1930s, the term “apartment” and similar terms frequently appeared in commercial magazines such as Samcheolli and Byeolgeongon. Such publications described apartments as multifloored, multifamily, fireproof houses built with reinforced concrete that could support an unspecified number of individuals as they went about their lives independently. In addition, the coverage also mentioned that apartment housing would gain prominence for offering leases on residential space. The first apartment in Seoul, named Chungjeong-ro Yurim Apartment, was constructed in 1930. Other multifloored official residences such as the two Mikuni Apartment buildings, one located in Hoehyeon-dong and the other in Naeja-dong, were also called apartments because of their multifloored exterior.
As it turns out, the term “apartment” is rarely used in Japan. Instead, the term “mansion” is used. In Korea, “mansion” was used to emphasize luxurious apartments; Hangang Mansion Apartment, for example, was built in 1970 by the Korea National Housing Corporation. After this, many privately contractors used the name “mansion apartment” in reference to the Hangang Mansion Apartment. This phenomenon continued for small-scale, private built luxury apartments in the 1980s.
Apartments built after the 1970s were distributed based on ambitious development plans and became a representative form of contemporary Korean residential styles. According to the current architectural regulations, an apartment is defined as “a building with five or more residential floors.” One with four or less floors is called as a multiplex house.
- Park Cheol-soo, Apateu (Apartment) (Seoul: Mati, 2013); Jang Lim-jong and Park Jin-hee, Daehanminguk apateu balgulsa (History of Korean apartment buildings) (Paju: Hyohyungbooks, 2009).