Notes on the Geography of South Korea: Hanok: Photo 1
We've climbed up to the rooftop of an enterprising property owner who's created his own for-profit hanok observatory. We're looking south toward Gwanghwamun Plaza. The building on the right with the blue wall hanging is the Foreign Ministry. Between it and the trees are the Twin Trees office buildings. The contrast with the hanoks could hardly be greater.
Surprisingly, the word hanok entered Korean dictionaries only in the 1970s to signify what had not until then needed a word: traditional Korean housing. Jieheerah Yun writes that the appeal of this traditional housing rose in tandem with "mounting criticism of the monotonous urban landscape of Seoul, or 'apartment forests', consisting of endless rows of rectangular concrete boxes."
See her Globalizing Seoul: The City's Cultural and Urban Change, 2017, p. 51.
Back to South Korea: Hanok chapter
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