Date of Award

Spring 6-3-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)



First Advisor

Marthe Rowen

Second Advisor

Heinrich Hermann


Hanok is a traditional Korean architecture built with Korea’s unique technology and style. Most Korean people have a positive impression of the Hanok but Hanok is acknowledged as an obsolete form of living these days. The reasons why the Hanok is not widely used are an inconvenience in living due to facilities, difficulty in maintenance, the high cost required for renovation, and its prone to coldness. Therefore, it is essential to modernize the design and construction of the Hanok by reflecting modern needs in a new Hanok. This study investigates the characteristics of the Hanok, the typologies, and how it developed in relation to the environment of the region, the distribution of Hanoks in Korea, and Seoul city’s remodeling ordinances/regulations for Hanoks. This thesis will examine formal, material, and operational strategies for remodeling Hanoks to meet the needs of modern lifestyles. Also, I am going to question the spatial composition of the Hanok and what a modern space should look like. I will be looking into various case studies of adaptive reuse with interventions such as insertion, juxtaposition, and wrapping. This thesis will propose a theory of Hanok reuse in an urban context by investigating operations in building and material dimensions.

Francoise Astorg Bollack, the author of Old Buildings New Forms takes five strategies when approaching the subject of restoring and reusing old fabric. Insertions: the new piece of pace or a building is inserted into the older volume, using the existing structure as protection and nestling in it. In general, the inserted piece has its own identity. Parasites: the new piece attaches itself to the side or the top of the original building and becomes one with it as it depends on the original structure. The original building provides key functions: structural support, access, ready-made integration in an existing historical and cultural fabric, and existing infrastructure. The addition cannot function without the support of the original building. Wraps: the addition wraps the older structure in a new mantle, it may spread an overhead umbrella to provide protection to a building that has become fragile, or it may encapsulate an older, smaller structure in an all-around enclosure. Juxtaposition: The addition stands next to the original building and does not engage with the older structure in an obvious dialogue. The visual separation is established: different textures, colors, materials, and styles. Weavings: The new work is weaved in and out of the original building fabric. The old and the new become inseparable.

By looking into case studies of each intervention, the objective is to discuss what is an ideal intervention in formal and material scale that is applicable to a traditional Hanok. My work questions what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, and what is a criterion of a good or bad change in an old building.



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