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Korean Architecture 


Pre-modern Korean architecture may be classified into two major styles: those used in palace and temple structures, and those used in the houses of common people, which consisted of many local variations.  For the former, Korean's ancient architects adopted the bracket system.  The latter was characterized by thatched roofs and heated floors called ondol.  People of the upper classes built larger houses with tiled roofs.  The roofs were elegantly curved and accentuated with slightly uplifting eaves.

three_story_tower_copy(1).jpg (15779 bytes)The natural environment was always regarded as an element of supreme importance in Korean architecture.  Numerous Buddhist temples across the country, for instance, were located in mountains noted for their scenic beauty, and their structures were carefully arranged so as to achieve an ideal harmony with the natural surroundings.

In selecting the site for a building of any function, Koreans tended to attach special meaning to the natural environment.  They did not consider a place good enough for a building unless it commanded an appropriate view of "mountains and water."  This pursuit of a constant contact with nature was not only due to aesthetic reasons, but also because geomagnetic principles dominated the Korean psychology.

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Western architecture was first introduced to Korea with the opening of its doors to the world toward the end of the 19th century.  Churches and offices for foreign legislation were built by Western architects and engineers during those years.  In the early years of modern architecture's development, Koreans learned new ideas and skills fro Western architects and engineers.  Among these early pioneers in the 1930s was Pak Tong-jin who designed the main building of Korea University.

Korean architecture entered a new phase of development during the post-Korean war reconstruction with the return of two ambitious young architects of great talent from overseas - Kim Chung-op from France and Kim Su-gon from Japan.  Both architects have greatly contributed to the development of Korean architecture.  Some structures of special note in Seoul include Kim Su-gun's Olympic Stadium, Um Tok-mun's Sejong Cultural Center and Kim Seok-Chul's Seoul Arts Center.  Seoul has rapidly changed into a fascinating showcase of modern architectural trends and styles.  The city's ever-changing skyline speaks of the dramatic speed with which the nation has developed in recent years. 

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Chang'dok Palace

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Kyong'bok Palace

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Kyong'bok Palace

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Kyong'bok Palace


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