Hanok – Korean Vernacular Architecture

South Korea has blazing summers and freezing winters. These Hanok were made from the natural resources of earth, stone, and wood in the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). Clay tiles were used for the roof, (afforded by nobility) and thatch was used for roof by common folk.

Here is a Hanok diagram: Hanok

Plans and sections of Hanok from Architeutis project Elastico:

exploded with plansPlans and Sections

The traditional Hanok design has curved corners cantilevered over the porch areas for rain protection and a raised foundation for drainage. There are cool wooden floors, “maru”, for resting in summer heat as well as “ondol” stone floors which are heated by fire or stoves underneath to stay warm in the icy winters. There are tiled roofs and paper  sliding doors to provide sun and wind shields.

Here is the Climate Consultant Psychrometric Chart for Ulsan, South Korea:Psychrometric chart

According to this psychrometric chart, Korea has very hot and humid summers paired with very cold winters. It is a country with all four seasons as well as two rainy seasons. Some of  the best design strategies to combat this extreme climate are listed by Climate Consultant as: ceiling fans (for hot days), and internal heat gain (from equipment, lights, and occupants) from tightly-sealed and well-insulated homes for heat in bitter winters. I utilize these strategies in my design (focusing on the extreme heat and cold of South Korea).

Additional photos:

Inside Hanok


For passive design purposes, concentration was placed on ways to heat and insulate in winter and cool down through ventilation in summer. In addition the sun was also a factor of both seasonal designs.

Here is the proposed design primer: Seasonal Diagrams




35 plan+sec hanok



Sophany, Ouch. “A study of traditional vernacular architecture in Korean” Architectural Division of NRICH, South Korea


One thought on “Hanok – Korean Vernacular Architecture

  1. I think studying the hanok was a great choice because it seems to be very historically important to South Korea. I can relate because I also chose a building very important to Mongolian culture. My suggestion is have you thought about how you can change the materiality of the hanok so that you can incorporate more modern materials like glass or steel? I love your diagrams, very simple and straight to the point!

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