C/j’ae and Madang: Combined Interior and Exterior Spaces

Any consideration of the Korean home and lifestyle must first take into account the fact that Koreans do not habit­ually use chairs, but sit on the floor, a custom central to the ondol method of heating.

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the plan of the dwelling is the versatility and multipurpose nature of nearly all the rooms. Rooms tend not to have a single, set function. This feature pervades all Korean domestic architecture.

Even in the estates of the elite yangban, all gardens other than the rear garden were an integral part of the family’s daily living space and an essential part of the residential composition. Accordingly, they should be considered as much a part of the dwelling as are the interior spaces.

For purposes of this discussion, different parts of the
residence wi...


Locality: Factors Related to the Dwelling’s Locale (Urban Versus Rural)

The Convergence of Ondol – and Maru-Based Structures

The spread of the ondo/-heated pang from the homes of the rural masses to the upper classes and the cities, and the spread of the wooden-floor taech’dng and таги in the other direction, together contributed to the distinctive composition of traditional Korean dwellings.

The major difference between traditional homes in rural areas and those that have survived in Seoul is that the









101 Schematic of an urban residence centered on the taech’dng.

rural home is the built around the pudk and pang, which make up the majority of its interior space, and the wood­en-floored rooms appear somewhat secondary (Figure 100)...


Architectural Constraints Dictated by Ondol, and Functions о/Ondol-Heated Rooms

A traditional ondol is only effective when used with a flue structure of limited length, and this inevitably limits the size of the rooms in which it can serve as a sufficient heat source.

The basic unit of measure for pang is one k’an (a square

Подпись: 96.1 Section view of the t’oetmaru (corridor), pang, and kolbang (closet space) spatial structure. Architectural Constraints Dictated by Ondol, and Functions о/Ondol-Heated Rooms

measure each side of which is equal to the width of the span between columns).8 Occasionally a pang may be one – and-a-half k’an (i. e., having two one-span walls and two one-and-a-half-span walls).

Generally, two of these pang are served by a single ondol furnace/flue system, and the entire length of the heated area is never more than three kan, which is the largest area that an ondol can effectively heat. The pang located closer to the furnace is called an anbang (inner pang), while the other is called an utpang (outer pang).

The f...


Function: Factors Based on the Ondol System of Heating

The constraints imposed by the ondol system of floor heating were a major factor in the interior layout of tradi­tional Korean homes.

Confucian philosophy was central to the division of the

Function: Factors Based on the Ondol System of Heating

93 Section and perspective views of the о ndol heating system and wooden floor structures.

dwelling into the anch’ae, sarangch’ae, and haengnagch’ae, but the composition of rooms within each of those build­ings was based on a distinction between rooms with floor heating (pang) and those without (таги). Furthermore, the size of each pang and the number of pang connected to the same heating system were determined by the physi­cal limitations of the ondoTs effectiveness.

Thus, each of the three areas of a yangban’s estate was made up of rooms small enough to be heated effectively by ...


Social Mores: Factors Based on Confucian Principles

Social status, as described above, was an important factor in the composition of every traditional Korean dwelling, but the Confucian principles underpinning the hierarchi­cal social system also had an influence on the basic design and layout of homes in other, much more direct, ways.

Once neo-Confucianism, with its emphasis on moral duty, was established as the dominant philosophy in the land, ancestor worship became the core practice of the people’s spiritual life. The basic unit of society was not the individual, but the family. Several generations of an extend­ed family lived together under the charge of the family patriarch.

Order was maintained within the extended family, as within the broader community, by Confucian principles...


Social Status: Factors Based on the Traditional Hierarchical Class System

The village of Yangdong in the Wolsong district, about four kilometers (2.5 miles) south of Kyongju, is a treasure trove of traditional rural dwellings. Farmers’ homes are scattered among low pine trees on the southern side of a medium-sized hill. Looming over all, near the summit of the hill and surrounded by a wall, is a particularly impres­sive estate, which is home to a yangban (civil or military official).

In order to clarify the importance of social status in the composition of traditional Korean homes and gardens, it is necessary here to examine the class system that set the yangban above all their neighbors, as well as the relation­ship of that class system to the Confucian ideas that served to maintain order in traditional Korean society.

The Centralized Feudal System

Choson, ...


Location: Factors Based on the Geomantic Principles of P’ungsu

One of the strongest impressions that visitors to China remark on is the enormous number of bicycles in Beijing, Shanghai, and the other major cities. Visitors to Korea, on the other hand, are often surprised at how few people they see riding bicycles in Seoul, Pusan, or Kyongju. This con­trast reflects the fundamental difference between the two countries in terms of the topography of the cities, towns, and villages.

The Korean Peninsula is a region of undulating but rel­atively low mountains and hills scattered with numerous small basins of flatland. Approximately seventy-five per­cent of the terrain is mountainous, but there are not many fast-running streams or rivers...


Traditional Korean Residences and Their Gardens


raditional Korean gardens are said to always have an “untouched” or “natural” appearance.

People taking a strictly Japanese view might say that there is no such thing as a formal garden in the Korean tradition. They would also say that there is really no artificial ornamentation in traditional Korean archi­tecture. All a Korean garden consists of, they would claim, is enclosing the necessary area with lengths of carved granite or walling off an area of sloping ground. The far side of the garden might feature a lone tree and one or two strangely shaped rocks. However, the true character of the Korean garden can be seen in the rear garden of the Ch’ilgung Palace at the foot of Mount Pukak in Seoul...


Hierarchical Dwelling Composition

The traditional composition of Chinese dwellings, where­by a number of units are joined to form a residential com­plex is a design influenced by a feudal patriarchy rooted in a class system. Confucianism was key to the maintenance of this feudal order. As explained earlier, Confucianism became the orthodox system of thought in Chinese histo­ry, developing from a respect for custom to a values sys­tem based on filial piety, then to “education” and finally to “scholarship...


Landscape Painting Theory and Taoism

The Northern Song-treatise on landscape painting Lin quan gao zhi xu (The lofty message of forests and streams), considered the most important of its genre, was written by Guo Xi (after a. d. 1000-ca. 1090), who had studied Tao­ism in his youth and was the most famous Academy land­scapist of his time. In the section of this work titled “Shan shui xun" (Advice on landscape painting) Guo discusses the concept of woyou:

It is simply that, in a time of peace and plenty, when the intentions of ruler and parents are high-minded, purifying oneself is of little significance, and office – holding is allied to honor...