Daehangno and Hyehwa-dong Tour Recap

Last Saturday I attended the RAS-KB tour to Daehangno and Hyehwa-dong led by Dr. Robert Fouser. The tour was a combination of exploring hanoks (traditional houses) and architecture as well as discussing current real estate laws and policies. Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the tour was learning about the future of traditional neighborhoods, government and corporate policies and redevelopment districts. Although our discussion was nothing short of enlightening, it was far too complicated and detailed to recap in any meaningful way here.

Aside from lively discussions, learning about the construction and maintenance of hanoks was a significant part of the tour. Throughout the excursion, Dr. Fouser showed participants which hanok exteriors were hand-build and which were machine-cut. We also learned about which pieces of wood are the most important in maintaining the structure of the hanok and how these houses are insulated.

Our group also discovered a few treasures during our excursion. Tucked away from the bustling areas and shopping streets we encountered earlier was the house of former Prime Minister Chang Myon. Although we were not able to enter the house due to ongoing renovation, we were still able to learn about the house’s different styles of architecture which includes both Japanese and Western styles. Its large and distinctive windows set it apart from other hanoks in Korea.

The tour concluded at another hidden gem, the house of Choi Sun-woo, a restored hanok maintained by the National Trust of Korea. The courtyard was simply amazing and is a must see for anyone seriously interested in seeing a wonderfully preserved hanok. Many members of the tour did not know about the house before attending the tour.

Pictures from this tour can be found on the RAS-KB Facebook page. Also, Dr. Fouser has recently started a blog about tours he has led. His blog can be found here.


By Patrick Wunderlich

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