The samcheong hanok and the evolution of the traditional Korean house

Yong Hee Lee, Hyon Sob Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hanok or traditional Korean house has evolved to meet modern conditions that are continually updated. The “Samcheong Hanok” located in Bukchon, the most representative hanok village in Seoul, is a typical example. The house was originally constructed around 1940 but under-went several stages of extension and repairs before finally being renovated by architect Wook Choi in 2000. It is arguable that the evolution of the Samcheong Hanok illustrates a typical history of modern hanok, which is characterized as two types according to certain periods. The first is the urban-type hanok, built approximately between 1930 and 1960, which is a standardized version that was mass-produced for anonymous clients by a developer. The second, introduced around 2000, is the contemporary hanok, an individualized and tailor-made version built for a specific client in general. Based on analysis and integration of Bukchon’s historical context and Samcheong Hanok’s records, this paper aims to trace and reconstruct a plausible history of the house to illustrate the typical historical aspects of modern hanok—urban-type and contemporary. In the conclusion, after revealing the rigidity of the current hanok support system, several suggestions for a creative evolution of hanok are offered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9034
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug 2

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Contemporary hanok
  • Evolution
  • Samcheong Hanok
  • Traditional Korean house
  • Urban-type hanok

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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