Architecture of a large home over 70 kan in size
Home of Gangneung Kim Yoon-gi
An ancient home where descendents live together with history
This is the description of the Kim Yoon-gi home that appears in the ‘Cultural Heritages of Gangneung’ published by Gangneung in 2003.
The home of Kim Yoon-gi located at 300 Noam-dong, Gangneung was designated as the Gangwon Provincial Cultural Heritage Material 58, and it is the largest home of Gangneung after the Seongyojang, which is one of the most famous cultural heritages of Gangneung.
Its anchae has six kan in the front and a two kan eight-tiled roof. With the two kan aisle in the center, there are rooms on each side. There is a kitchen below the attic connected to the room on the right and the room called a chambang was being used as a dining room. There is a space for storing food in the basement of the chambang.
The sarangchae, which is square shaped has an aisle in the front. When opening the door on the back of the chambang, there is another ㄱ shaped traditional Korean house and a ceramic pot in the middle of the court. The haengnangchae, which faces the anchae, is where the many home items are stored on the wooden floor.
Pass the well made high stylobate is a main gate below the old grape myrtle and fig tree.
There seems to be a distance from the traditional architecture that we have seen thus far. Wondering exactly what it is, I find that the door to the anchae is locked.
I look around the small hill in the back, go into the cooling area where the kimchi pots are buried under ground, touch the newly renovated chimney and count the number of autumn chil peppers left out to dry on the stone stylobate. I read the information tablet on the old house and look around, and then the manager of the old house employed by the city hall said that the owner went out to the bank and that I should wait if I wanted to hear a description of the home.
As I lay my body on the stone chair surrounding the colorful grape myrtle tree in the center and look up into the high autumn sky, suddenly an elderly gentleman appears.
He is Kim Ik-nam, son of the late Kim Yoon-gi.
He asked where I came from and then opened the gate saying, “I have to turn off the alarm first.”
There was a basket full of potatoes and newly harvested sweet potatoes hanging all over the place.
He said that his children from Seoul were visiting so he wanted to share this with them.
Winnow baskets of all sizes are hung like medals all over the gate, showing the scale of the home.
I wonder what kids these days might think of when seeing these items today.
In Gangwon-do it is common to see stone mortars where the lower and upper parts are the same, but the stone mortars, which were used only by rich families, seemed to bow down in greetings to visitors.
Upon entering the sarangchae, which is the epitome of traditional Korean homes, a comical painting stood out. This is where it is said that the Baekilhong tree that Hong Gook-young planted is, and the place of exile of King Jeongjo, the Gangwon University branch during the war, an assembly hall of the Labor Party, and now the Yerimhoe educational space
“I heard that during the Japanese Occupation, a man named Kim Jin-woo stayed the night and painted this.”
It is a simple description, but the awesome painting makes one cry out in awe.
Who was Kim Jin-woo? Was he not a man that drew to make a small fortune, which he donated in the cause of fighting against Japan?
Mrs. Shim Soon-ok, the second chair of the Korean Women Yerimhoe, which remembers Shin Saimdang, lives here.
There are old lacquered closets and wooden furniture everywhere. These wood furniture that can be called antiques are just everyday goods here.
On one part of the main building is an altar. He explained that though an altar was typically made separately, it was placed in the home for the sake of convenience. The door frame of the altar room that houses the ancestral tablets is tightly made. It is something to think about when comparing to the traditional Korean homes made these days.
“This house is separated into two spaces. Originally, there was the old home of the dongbyeoldang, but it was moved next door in 1942 and the current traditional Korean home was built here. It was completed on the year that Korea gained her independence, so it took three years to build. My grandfather, who was the chief of Daehwa-myeon and Gangneung-eub picked out good trees, and used wagons and Japanese carpenters to make this house. While living here, we renovated it for convenience adding modern toilets and bathtubs.”
Alain Button, a Swiss author and philosopher who recently visited Korea, said that the common trait of writing and architecture is ‘dailiness’. He explained that it covers the weaknesses of man and made them happy. In other words, human history contains the evolution of architecture.
Traditional Korean homes, or ‘hanok’, evolved with the modernization of Joseon. Kim Yoon-gi’s home in Gangneung well contains the transformation of the times.
Suddenly, I wonder what the future has in store of the wooden house that requires careful and continuous care to be maintained as a home.