View out the window while having a coffee at Coffee Mill, right next to Jeongdok Library in Bukchon.
The LAT did a piece on hanok preservation activist David Kilburn. Read it on your own — here’s just a sample:
A former journalist, Kilburn was in Seoul to cover the 1988 Olympics but fell so much in love with the traditional architecture that he decided to stay. He and his Korean wife, Jade, soon bought a hanok house.
But life there has been anything but serene.
For six years, Kilburn has been battling city officials over what he calls the systematic destruction of hanok homes in the area. Despite the creation of a preservation zone there decades ago, hundreds of hanoks have been demolished by developers and speculators who use loopholes to cash in on rising land values, he says.
The battle has shaped the 67-year-old tea merchant into an unlikely activist: a foreigner who insists that South Korea is not doing enough to halt the demise of its own heritage.
Kilburn lives in the Bukchon area, which, while beautiful, has been changing quite a bit in character, and not necessarily in a good way.
Anyway, Mr. Kilburn’s website can be found here — please, give it a visit.
For the Korean-language inclined, here’s a piece in Design House, and for the more audio-visual inclined, here’s a story on him and his home from KBS:
PS: He apparently has “나는 영어선생님이 아닙니다” written on his motorcycle helmet. Just in case anyone was unsure of the matter. Cute.
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For well over a year now, I’ve been meaning to see Seodo Central Methodist Church, a historic hanok church on Jumun-do, a small island off the coast of Ganghwa-do.
The problem, however, had been getting there — only two boats a day go to the island (9:30am and 5pm), and if you take the latter one, you have to sleep on the island. As it is, it takes about 90 minutes to get from Seoul to Ganghwa, and then its another 30 minutes from Ganghwa Town to the port of Oepo-ri, where the ferry to Jumun-do departs.
On Saturday, though, yours truly finally made the trip. And boy, am I thankful I did.
What we’ll see here are two of Ganghwa’s three hanok churches, the afore mentioned Seodo Central Methodist Church and an old favorite of mine, Ganghwa Anglican Church.
The Hankyoreh talks with long-time resident and hanok lover Peter Bartholomew (about whom you’ve probably read about here and here), whose struggles against redevelopers who want to, well, redevelop his neighborhood just won’t end, with pro-redevelopment residents appealing an earlier court decision blocking redevelopment plans and holding demonstrations in front of his house.
Architect Hwang Doojin, who is known for — among other things — his work on creative restoration of hanok homes in Bukchon, spoke at the Korea Society in New York in April, but the podcast was uploaded earlier this month:
On April 14, 2009, Doojin Hwang, the principal of Doojin Hwang Architects and author of Where is your Seoul? and Hanok is Back, spoke to The Korea Society about the theory, design, and methodology behind the “creative restoration” of Korean cities. Known for his introduction of traditional Korean houses to a new generation of Koreans, Hwang recently conducted a lecture tour of the United States, which included presentations at Harvard University and the LA County Museum of Art, in addition to this address at The Korea Society.
Give the lecture a listen.
You can also see some of his work on residential architecture here.