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Features of a Traditional Korean Han-ok 2 Open area in the middle of house If you have been inside a Korean house, what was the most surprising thing you saw? To my friend, Martin, it was the open space called “Ma-dang.” Unlike most western houses, there is a strange open area as you open the door. It looks like both inside and outside at the same time. What does that mean? It means even after you cross a door to inside house, you can still see the sky very well with your shoes on. Like in this picture:

Open space called as Ma-dang

Why do Koreans build a house that way? It’s for several reasons. First is for the harmony with nature. In Asia, Korea built the most open places compared to other countries like China or Japan. To make a good harmony with nature was one of the most important things to live by for Koreans. Reflecting this idea, people wanted to build a house as a place where not only they could rest and live in but also be with nature. To breathe with nature without leaving a house was an essential element of building a house. It is also connected with Bae-San-In-Su, which decides the location of house on Feug-shui. The heat gathered on the front Ma-dang usually goes up,

letting the cold wind from the mountain behind the house come through the house and keep it cool. It also explains why there are so many windows in Hanok. When all windows in one house are open, the wind and air flowing through the whole house.

Let the wind flow through the big windows on each side.

It is best in winter too because heat is store in the wide Ma-dang. To make the airway straight, most walls are made facing south. So during winter time, these walls make sunlight come inside and keep the house warm. Last but not the least, Ma-dang is a place for everything. It’s a safe place for children to play with the family, neighbors and friends. When there’s a big party or events like traditional wedding, Ma-dang is the perfect place to use. After picking up vegetables, you dry them up at the Ma-dang. Like this open place, Koreans become open to nature and people as well, making the Madang a very important place.


About Korean traditional house; Hanok

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