Seoul Campus

3. Introduction of Bukchon (a traditional house village) preservation project

Date 2017-09-19 Writer ssunha
  • Housing
  • Ph.D. Hyun-Suk Min
  • 2017-09-19

Module 3: Main Tasks for Bukchon Preservation Project

Now, I’ll talk about Main Tasks for Bukchon Preservation Project. Following the mayoral order No.1002, the city got into its stride to preserve the uniqueness of Bukchon in 2001~2004. The main tasks for Bukchon preservation project were ①Hanok Registration Program, ②Purchase of Hanok and ③Improvement of Streetscape. From 2001 to 2005 the Budget amounted to ca.24 million USD.
After the preservation project started in 2001, 358 of 947 Hanoks in Bukchon were registered by 2005. As of 2005, a total of 224 Hanoks were given subsidies for repair or remodelling and 116 Hanoks were offered loans. In accordance with the Hanok Ordinance, a registered Hanok owner was given repair and remodelling subsidies equivalent to two-third of exterior repair cost, up to 30,000 USD. The credit line for each project was 20,000 USD for interior refurbishment.
A total of 6.6 million USD was offered in subsidies to 224 registered Hanoks, while 2.1 million USD was offered in loans to 116 registered Hanoks. For Hanok registration a property owner submitted the application to Jongno-gu office. Jongno-gu office transferred the application
to the Seoul Metropolitan Government for deliberation. The Hanok Council decided to render registration and the city government notified the result to the applicant. Upon receiving notice, a resident could apply the financial support from the city to repair their own Hanok.
From 2001 to 2004, the city government purchased 10 Hanoks at the risk of demolition and six non-Hanok houses. One of purchased Hanoks was reopened as the Bukchon Cultural Center. It provides hands-on programs for visitors to taste the prestigious tradition of Bukchon.
The exhibition hall in the center houses materials telling the history and value of Bukchon. Video-clips are played showing how important the preservation of Bukchon is. The Bukchon Cultural Center also provides various information on cultural heritage and tours around Bukchon, as well as exhibition, music concert, other cultural events and traditional culture classes to teach traditional folkloric painting, tea ceremony, knotting, traditional Korean paper art, and traditional music. Other Hanoks the city purchased are used for public purposes as museums, artisanal workshops, and Hanok experience halls. On the site of the six non-Hanok houses, the city government built parking lots, small parks and other necessary public facilities. In 2001~2005 the city spent 7.7 million USD to purchase 12 Hanoks and 6 non-Hanoks.
The streetscape on small alleys was improved in Gahoe-dong 31 and 11 as well as Bukchon-gil(road) and Gyedong-gil(road). The small alleys with Hanoks in Gahoe-dong and Wonseo-dong had been seriously deteriorated in appearance by the electronic or telecommunication cables. Because of cables disorderly stretched around wooden houses, neighbors had been exposed to accidents and even fire.
The city government therefore conducted the streetscape improvement projects. First, the city chose the street, where the impact of underground cabling would be significant and where the underground cabling work can be linked with other construction works such as renovation of water supply and sewerage or repavement. Streetscape improvement projects were carried out in Bukchon’s major alleys, where Hanoks are concentrated. 2.3 million USD was spent to reorganize sewerage system, remove utility poles and wires, and repave the roads in Gahoe-dong 31 and 11. It cost 5.3 million USD to improve street milieu on Bukchon-gil and Gyedong-gil.
To protect small alleys in Bukchon, 'Construction Act' was also modified. 'Construction Act' stipulated, in any new constructions on an alley, the building frontage line should be pulled back to the extent to secure a four-meter width of the alley. It is to ensure the traffic of pedestrians and vehicles. However this rule might lead to the destruction of alleys no wider than four meters in the Bukchon area. The city government therefore designated a large part of Bukchon as a 'Bukchon Preservation Area' to ease this minimum width regulations.
Thank you. Next clip, I’ll talk about Results of Bukchon Preservation Project.