In and out of space: Identity and architectural history in Korea and Japan

Hyungmin Pai, Don Son Woo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


During the early decades of the twentieth century, the architectural history of Korea was born with the colonial surveys and texts of the first architectural historians of Japan. These narratives, following the Japanese imperial view of world civilisation, became the basis of the simultaneous restoration and destruction of Korean architecture. After the Second World War, the historical ground of architectural history changed for both Korea and Japan. The idea of space, adopted from Western sources, was the key to these transformations. Driven by the nationalistic policies of the 1960s, architectural history in Korea re-emerged carrying both the burdens of colonialism and the possibilities of new spatial discourses. The most important Korean text in the emergence of a spatial subject is Ahn Young Bae’s Exterior Space in Korean Architecture (1978), a work that parallels Ashihara Yoshinobu’s Exterior Design in Architecture (1962). While Ashihara’s Gestalt project maintained a stable relationship between subject and object, Ahn brought an anxious subject into the site through the constantly moving camera. In Ahn’s proto-phenomenological project, the historical disruptions of the site were simultaneously acknowledged and stabilised by the identity of the Korean subject and its architectural spaces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)402-434
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Architecture
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


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