Probably one of the 2 most beautiful Hanok style architecture residence I got to see in Korea is Myeongjae residence. Considered as a front runner in the perfect expression of the design and ideas of traditional Korean houses, its sense of space and integration in the surrounding is impressive.
Located in Chungcheongnam-do province, about 2 and a half hours away from Seoul, it is without a doubt worth the trip. While visiting, you almost feel like you are taken back 300 years in the past. Built in 1709, it still retains all of its charm from the past. I was also surprised to see a special activity (probably a school trip) going on in the inner court. To see how the court could have been used in the past right in front of my eyes gave off quite a lively feeling — a good change to the usually overly “museum-like” atmosphere of these kinds of visit.
The interplay between interior and exterior is the strongest point to the house. A short stay in the sarangchae confirms that fact. Sitting on the floor and looking out the window, wondering if you are inside or outside, is quite a unique experience. The view out the windows ends up looking more or less like paintings, having “framed” the view. The fire being close by, the smoke gets in the sarangchae and adds ambiance to the whole experience. I wanted to stay there all day, not moving and just enjoying the moment. Unfortunately, pictures don’t live up to the actual experience of sitting in that room!
A final word to say a big thank you to Professor Han Pilwon, from Hannam University in Deajeon, for all of his generosity on May 29th 2010 for the personal commented tour he gave me of the residence. I strongly believe that Professor Han Pilwon’s professional career & experience on the matter would be a perfect addition to Koreanarchitecture.com.