SEOUL CHURCHES

Seoulscape Research Project Seoul National University Urban Research Project carried out by Professor Peter W. Ferretto's

2012
Generic Korean Church
SEOUL CHURCH TYPOLOGIES

No other building exemplifies the architecturalmutation, or “Seoulification” of architecture, than the typology of thechurch. Seoul’s churches are vastcongregational hybrid buildings developed following virtually contradictoryprinciples. Their external aestheticsmake clear reference to western, in most cases gothic architecture (highspires, emphasis on verticality), while their functionally is inspired by the Malltypology and governed by car access. 

The western paradigm of the church has mutatedinto a multi-functional complex with breathtaking originality. One is confronted with an amalgamatedtypology resembling both a generic modern office building and Chartrescathedral. The proliferation of thesebuildings is truly remarkable; again Christianity seems to have been affectedby a Korean “steroid” mentality, the sheer number of Christian churchesscattered around the metropolis easily outnumbers any other religiousorganization and probably represents the highest populated collection of publicinterior spaces in the capital.

Compared to western urban planning where thechurch is conceived as the gravitational centre of the neighborhood and thecity fabric adjusts itself to comply with a force majeure, Seoul’s churches aregoverned by the city. Their architecturehas to adjust and adapt to the surrounding context, make do with the given predicament.The resulting effect is that independently of how iconic or monumental theirdesigns are, and many aim to be colossal, they appear de-monumentalized andblur into the background.

Seoul’s churches aredesigned in a particular/peculiar manner. Paradoxically, their development, which to the naked eye seemsidiosyncratic and haphazard, is governed by some constant hidden rules. More than any other building typology inSeoul, the church is an architectural ensemble, a montage of various(incongruous) elements, be it stylistic/physical/programmatic which bond tocreate a common language, regulated by a single grammar.
Chartres Cathedral, France
Typologies and Spaces of Korean Churches
RESEARCH PROJECT

The above research was carried out as part of a research project funded by SNU (Seoul National University) between 2009- 2010.  The full article on the subject was published in SPACE Magazine October 2010 #515.

DATE
2010

COLLABORATORS
Boreum, Lee (SNU)

ISLAND HOUSING
MIMESIS
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INTERVIEW ALVARO SIZA
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LUKYU TEAHOUSE
JAPAN TRIP
URBAN TATTOOS
URBAN PAUSE WALK 2
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