Hanok is a term to describe Korean traditional houses. Korean architecture lends consideration to the positioning of the house in relation to its surroundings, with thought given to the land and seasons.
The interior structure of the house is also planned accordingly. This principle is also called Baesanimsu (Korean: 배산임수; Chinese: 背山臨水), literally meaning that the ideal house is built with a mountain in the back and a river in the front, with the ondol heated rock system for unique heating system of South Korea during cold winters and a wide daecheong (대청) front porch for keeping the house cool during hot summers.
Houses differ according to region. In the cold northern regions of Korea, houses are built in a closed square form to retain heat better. In the central regions, houses are 'L' shaped. Houses in the southernmost regions of Korea are built in an open 'I' form. Houses can also be classified according to class and social status.
According to old paper about house in April 23 of 1907, the terms that Hanok appeared on the history for the first time. In that paper, Hanok was figure out the specific region where jeong-dong road, from Donuimun to Baejae school. When era of Korea under Japanese rule, the ruler used terms such as 'Jooga' 'Joseon House' when they were talking about house improvement.
The environment-friendly aspects of traditional Korean houses range from the structure's inner layout to the building materials which were used. Another unique feature of traditional houses is their special design for cooling the interior in summer and heating the interior in winter.
Since Korea has hot summers and cold winters, the 'Ondol (Gudeul),' a floor-based heating system, and 'Daecheong,' a cool wooden-floor style hall were devised long ago to help Koreans survive the frigid winters and to block sunlight during summer. These primitive types of heating and air-conditioning were so effective that they are still in use in many homes today. The posts, or 'Daedulbo' are not inserted into the ground, but are fitted into the cornerstones to keep Hanok safe from earthquakes.
The raw materials used in Hanok, such as soil, timber, and rock, are all natural and recyclable and do not cause pollution. Hanok's have their own tiled roofs (Giwa), wooden beams and stone-block construction. Cheoma is the edge of Hanok's curvy roofs. The lengths of the Cheoma can be adjusted to control the amount of sunlight that enters the house. Hanji (Korean traditional paper) is lubricated with bean oil making it waterproof and polished. Windows and doors made with Hanji are beautiful and breathable.
The shapes of Hanok differ regionally. Due to the warmer weather in the southern region, Koreans built Hanok in a straight line like the number 1. In order to allow good wind circulation, there are open wooden floored living area and many windows. The shape of the most popular Hanok in the central region is like letter "L" or Korean letter "ㄱ", an architectural mixture of the shapes in the northern and the southern regions. Hanoks in the cold northern region, are box-shaped like Korean letter "ㅁ" so that it would be able to block the wind flow in building Hanoks. They do not have an open wooden floored area but the rooms are all joined together.
The structure of Hanok is also classified according to social class. Typical yangban (upper class) houses with giwa (tiled roof) emphasized not only the function of the house, but also possess great artistic value. On the other hand, the houses of the commoners (as well as some impoverished yangban) with choga (a roof plaited by rice straw) were built in a more strictly functional manner.
Many hanoks have been preserved, such as:
- Bukchon Hanok Village, a residential quarter in Central Seoul
- Namsangol Hanok Village in Pil-dong neighborhood of Jung-gu in Seoul
- Hahoe Folk Village, a traditional village from the Joseon Dynasty located in Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do.
- Yangdong Folk Village, a traditional village from the Joseon Dynasty in Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea, along the Hyeongsan River.
- Korean Folk Village, a tourist attraction in the city of Yongin, Gyeonggi
Sungjosin, Samshinhalmi (one who gives birth to women), Kitchen God etc believed by people that there are different kinds of gods related to the house of each enrollment.
- Clark, Donald (2000). Culture and Customs of Korea. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 94. ISBN 0313304564.
- "한옥 韓屋" (in Korean). Doosan Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2008-05-07.
- "Ondol (Under-floor Heating System)". Korea Tourism Organization. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
- "The Layout of a Hanok". Korean Tourism Organization. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
- Kim, Hyung-eun (16 November 2012). "Historic Bukchon besieged by tourists, businesses". Joongang Daily. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- Yoo Sun-young; Hannah Kim (2 March 2011). "Bukchon streets lure folks with rustic charm and retro cool". Joongang Daily. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
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