During my time in Korea, I was able to visit and stay in traditional Korean homes, or Hanok. This was the first time that I had experienced housing that differed significantly from Western style housing – it really made me reflect on how cultural values and traditions both influence and are influenced by the style and development patterns of housing. Traditional Korean architecture exhibits many principles of sustainable design. Partly, this is true of most vernacular architecture. People built houses out of the materials that were available to them. Korea is blessed with a diversity of natural resources, and their homes were built from a variety of materials including stone, wood, earth, and either straw or clay for the roof. Windows were made of paper. Continue reading “The Culture of Traditional Korean Architecture”
Last week, our team began learning about green building in Korea. The country’s interest in green building is a product of several variables. Perhaps most significantly, the current president has made green growth his legacy issue and has been promoting it through a series of policies over the past 5 years (and 2 years prior to that as mayor of Seoul). Though the country is divided on their support for the president and his approach to green growth, there seems to be general consensus on several of the other variables. First, Korea imports nearly all of their energy (except for a small amount of coal). This of course makes energy very expensive in Korea (around 30 cents per Kwh for electricity) and puts the country in a vulnerable political and economic position. Second, as I referenced in my previous post, Korean culture simply places a high level of importance on the environment and Koreans are especially proud of their natural resources. Finally, traditional Korean architecture is based upon many sustainable principles (I promise a separate post on this!), which continue to influence the built environment today. Continue reading “Striving for Zero: Commercial & Residential Green Buildings in Korea”
It’s 5:37 am Wednesday morning. I have never voluntarily been up this early, but that’s what happens when you drag your body half way around the world I suppose. So since I am awake, I figured I would take this opportunity to report back on my first couple of days in Seoul.
So far, our team has only been visiting cultural sites. The vocational visits begin next week, but that hasn’t stopped us from already learning some about green design in Korea. It’s hard to miss, really. Driving into Seoul from the airport, one of the first impressions to strike us was the “lushness” of the city. Residential development in Seoul looks mostly like Le Corbusier’s towers in the park – groups of a half-dozen high-rise towers, often brutal in their design, but surrounded by parks. Continue reading “Green Space for the Seoul”