Korean House, Hanok

JO SanKu

A living legacy of 300 Years, Myeongjae Hanok'

Hanok is an architectural term describing Korean traditional houses, also referred as Chosun houses. Hanok is typically located with mountain in back, facing the water and north in direction. 

Each Hanok is distinguishable in various features, built according to regional environments—such as distance and direction of wind, water, land and mountains—and to meet its personal and distinctive objective and interest of the owner. 

Traditional architectures in Korea has evolved throughout dynasties; hanoks from Chosun Dynasty has remained most popular.

Myeongjae hanok is an exceptional example of a high class hanok from Chosun Dynasty, well preserved to current date. 

Baesanimsu literally translates as mountain in the back and river in front for an ideal position for a house to be built on. These geographic locations based on such specific principle has actually been proved advantageous; wind-proofed from northwestern winter winds and having easy access to water. 

Portrait of Myeongjae, YUN Jeung

The First Host

YUN Jeung (1629~1714) is a renowned scholar, politician, and theorist with great depth of study and virtue. He was not a government official but worked as a political reformer with SONG Si Yeol, as Chosun's greatest thinker and advocate.

Also, YUN remains historically significant as the only person to achieve three excellencies without being appointed by the King. 

A celestial globe 
A square seal
YUN Ha Joong, Myeongjae's descendent of nine generation, was an authoritative figure in astronomy.
YUN's invention: sundial based on 24-Hour system 
Astronomical observatory for the sundial placed at point zero.
YUN Ha Joong's son with the sundial 
Myeongjae hanok embodies modesty and practicality

Myeonjae hanok is not grand in size or lavishly decorated, but is an exemplary high-class hank residence that is well preserved. The structure of Myeongjae is based on scientific theories and humanistic balance.

Myeongjae is divided into three areas, the center Anchae, the front Sarangchae, and Sadang in the back. Smaller units of houses and rooms construct the complete the hanok complex. Myeongjae hanok is notable for the human scale applied to its measures to bring comforts. 

Hanok is composed of two basic elements: wooden structure and Giwa, soil baked roof tile. Also, ondol and maru were specifically designed to respectably warm the winter and cool the summer. 

Ondol—heated rock system—heats the floor and rooms thoroughly during cold winters, and maru keeps the house cool during hot summer days.   


Sarangchae is where the family's disposition is constituted, for it was occupied by male members of the family. The son was taught directly by the father, of beliefs and law, living, studying, and receiving guests together.

Father and son of YUN family
Each space of Sarangchae is carefully designed to meet personal needs. It is a place of social exchange and more exposed than Anchae.
Keun-Sarangbang is used by the eldest member of the family
Angojiki is both hinged and slidable door—It is an efficient way of creating new space
Hinged door
Sliding door
Numaru is built on an elevated level of sterobate
Numaru with closed windows
Numaru means lofted maru, constructed a level higher than other rooms
Sarangchae's numaru is a platform for events and receptions, sharing conversation and thoughts 
Panel naming Myeongjae hanok as a paradise
16:9 Panoramic view is provided by the bunhap window design 
Seokgasan, a miniature artificial mountain, sits outside of Numaru
Hanok eaves control the amount of light entering the rooms in each season
A private terrace stone for the landlord; the shoes are a sign of his presence


Anchae is the most private and restricted section of the house, protected by the inner gate. Landlady, wives, daughters cared children in Anchae and conducted everyday family life. Most family events were held within Anchae as well.

Mother-in-law and daughter-in-law in Anchae
Myeongjae's fence stretches from the main gate and follows through the back reaching the mountain behind
Main gate
New slogans are posted annually on the main gate in hope for good luck
Gate lock
Empty space introduce visitor's presence  
A duplicate interior wall prevent abruptness of visitors, allowing privacy to the family 
The landlady is in charge of inner courtyard and all house activities, secluded from the outside
The inner courtyard is the center of Myeongjae hanok, protected by 'ㄷ' shaped Anchae
Toenmaru—narrow wooden porch running alongside the exterior of rooms —controls the amount of light and wind 
Daechung maru is a communal area where memorial services, weddings, and other ceremonies are held

Daechung maru is composed of six units and in perfect symmetry, subtly blending to the landscape. The courtyard is deposits of red clay. The temperature rises easily from direct sunlight charged in wide, flat surface, but windows open paths for cooler air to pass and create circulation of air, thus lowering temperature.

Traditional Korean wedding at Myeongjae hanok 
Octagonal posts assist in climbing up to the interior spaces
Knot preserved in natural shapes
Geonnunbang is smaller room in Anchae, usually occupied by the daughter-in-law
Path between Anchae and storeroom
The width of passage is approximately 60 inches in the front and 24 inches in rear
The law of perspective makes the path appear parallel to human eyes 

Anchae and storeroom has greater distance from the south, but the draws in closer towards the north. This is not a miscalculation but a sign of scientific wisdom. 

The uneven closeness of two buildings are convenient in many aspects: both safe from raindrops falling into Anchae's columns and platforms, the amount of sun and heat is controlled precisely, and by the proven theory of Bernouli's equation, winter's northwestern wind is stopped by narrow passage and summer's southwestern wind is directed toward Anchae, cooling the building. 

Myeongjae demonstrates not only great architectural composition but also is an ideal hanok in representing scientific wisdom. 

Hanok with natural heating and cooling system

The inner courtyard is heated from the sun, creating warm air rises and collides with cooler air from behind daechung maru. The radiation creates natural circulation of air, helping to control extreme temperatures. 

The eaves are scientifically measured at a specific angle to control the amount of light reflected from the yard during summer and winter solstice. 

Heat spreads from Agunge located at lower level beneath the main floor
Agunge is a furnace that provide heat to all ondol in rooms

Ondol is an archaic way of heating in Korea. Agunge is traditional fireplace; a direct source of fire allows heat to travel through passages underneath the floor, heating floors and rooms evenly. It is established upon the convection current theory.

This traditional floor heating system was popular among all members of social class, practicing good health by keeping the head cool and feet warm. 

Beneficent water

“Water well is not to be recklessly dug nor filled” 

Myeongjae hanok's water well shared publicly with neighbors 
Child washing herself at the well 

Water is one of the most essential material of all lives. Water well has preeminent significance in an agricultural society, a sacred place for the whole neighborhood. The well is usually the first thing you see entering the neighborhood, a post for surveillance and protection. It was also served as a public space for social and cultural interactions.

Myeongjae's water well provided for drinking and other everyday use
Gochujang, Korean red pepper paste, made with water from the well 
Doenjang, Korean soybean paste
Crocks of soy sauce, a bequeathed tradition of 300 years at Myeongjae hanok 

Water drifts from the mountain behind the house, and is stored as a pond to be released for agricultural use.

“The land is flat, universe round”

The rectangular pond bears a round island in the northeast, stimulating water circulation that prevents water from from corrupting

People of Myeongjae hanok 

An old pine tree at Myeongjae hanok 

“Hanoks should always be tended by people”

Myeongjae hanok posesses legacy of 300 years but still remains in its original statue, cared by generations of Yoon family.

Four seasons of Myeongjae hanok 

“Hanok lies within nature, a part of the land, a perfect masterpiece”

“Hanok cannot be fully appreciated until it has been observed inside out, and through all four seasons.”

Myeongjae's descendent of 13th generation, WanSik YOON 

Credits: Story

큐레이션 — 권태준
코디네이션 — 박수민, 김다미
주관 — (주)코자자
협찬 — (사)한옥체험업협회
제공 — 윤완식 증손 , 명재고택
360도 파노라마뷰  — http://goo.gl/qhU2gG

Credits: All media
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