Saturday 19 August 2023

Book Review: Hanok: The Korean House by Park Nani & Robert J. Fouser (Non-Fiction)

Title: Hanok: The Korean House
Author: Park Nani & Robert J. Fouser
Publisher: Tuttle
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 176
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: Scribd

The Korean House provides new insights on the stylish traditional Korean homes that are experiencing a resurgence of popularity in Seoul today. While the exteriors of these houses are indistinguishable from traditional hanok built decades ago, the insides have entirely changed and adapted with the times. Korea is a nation that has radically transformed itself in recent decades, yet amidst the glass-and-steel skyscrapers and luxury apartments, the Korean design of the hanok still survives and plays a surprisingly important role. This book showcases 12 very special hanok that have been selected to reflect the Korea of today.

The original hanok design has not changed. Traditional craftsman-made materials of stone, wood, and clay are still the only components used in these houses. They also incorporate natural elements such as wind and sunlight, and baesanimsu (better known in its Chinese form as feng shui) is used to position the hanok in harmony with the natural forces and geographical features of the site. Each hanok has a unique story to tell, and this book studies the personality of each house from the point of view of its owners, many of whom are talented devotees of Korean architecture themselves.

Each of the Korean homes in
The Korean House was thoughtfully researched and photographed with the intention of giving the reader a feel for a culture reconciling its modern tendencies with its traditional roots.


Hanok: The Korean House was a beautifully presented book filled with wonderful photos in a pleasing layout. The introduction to the history of hanoks in central Seoul was interesting and added an extra layer of meaning to the book. The only thing I might have liked to have seen included was slightly more material explaining different features and their traditional manner of construction. That would have raised my score to five stars. As it is, I am giving four stars for this read. Worth a look if you are interested in Korean culture.

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