Hanok refers to architecture built in Korea with its own techniques and style since prehistoric times. In a narrow sense, it means 'residential house,' and in a wider sense, it includes 'the whole of Korean traditional architecture'. The term 'hanok' began to appear in literature from 1907, and in 1975, in the ‘Samsung New Korean Dictionary,' it was defined as 'the word that refers to a house built in a Korean style in contrast to a western style building'. The origin of hanok is a dugout hut from around 6,000 BC in the early Neolithic period, and it is believed that traditional hanok was completed in the late Joseon period. During this period, the Ondol, the Maru, and the kitchen, which were the basic units of the spatial composition of hanok, were completely combined and each had a close relation with the courtyard, and hanok divided into various regional types.
Recently, the following characteristics of hanok have been re-examined, and it is gaining great interest as an alternative to existing housing such as apartments and multi-family houses.
Our ancestors considered harmony with nature as the best ideal, so hanok was created to reflect this thought and to adapt to nature. In other words, hanok was built in a way that fits the topography of the house by setting the orientation of the house to match the surrounding environment and by using materials from that environment. Through this, nature and humans living in hanok became one.
Even today when apartments have become commonplace, the representative architectural element of hanok that can still be seen in Korean residences is Ondol. Because Ondol warms the floor, not the air, the indoor environment is pleasant. It is an efficient and effective system that is the solution for both cooking and heating. The traditional Ondol, which generated heat directly by using cut wood, changed to a method of boiling and circulating water with the introduction of a boiler.
In hanok, there is almost no pollution that is generated from modern architecture. Most of the materials used in hanok buildings can be recycled. Stone and wood were used as they were in their natural state, without being artificially processed. In addition, compared to buildings made of other materials such as apartments, hanok is not toxic and is not harmful to the human body. It also does not damage the grounds for building.
The roof of a hanok determines the impression of a hanok, and the beauty of the roof comes from its sharp curves. The curves of hanok, which have naturally raised ends compared to the linear roof shape found in traditional Chinese and Japanese architecture, have preserved its classical beauty.
While Ondol is an architectural element developed to adapt to the cold, Maru is an architectural element of hanok developed to adapt to the heat. Maru is a floor space made from trees that have fallen down. It allows you to spend a pleasant summer by allowing the air to pass through without accumulating moisture on the floor. Maru is also used as a place to connect multiple rooms or store things.