Bestseller Book Making Architecture Accessible

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Bestseller Book Making Architecture Accessible

Architecture are the only traces left by many civilizations. Seo Hyun, professor of architectural engineering at Hanyang University, attempts to fill the absence of books discussing modern Korean architecture with his work "Architecture Like Music, Like Art" published by Hyohung. Offering an easily-digestible explanations on the complicated topic of architecture in Korea, the book came about as an answer to a question often posed "Is that building good?"

First published in July 1998, "Architecture Like Music, Like Art" has sold more than 30,000 copies and continues to sell about 500 to 700 copies every month in bookstores nationwide. Winning rave reviews from experts and the general public alike, the book has been named the "Best Book of the Nineties" and been honored with commendations by both the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Korean Publication Ethics Commission.

Aimed at the non-cognoscenti, the book is rather easy to follow. It does, however, get progressively more complicated as it delves into more philosophical aspects underlying the discipline of architecture. Comparing music and art to architecture, as the title implies, the reader readily soon acquires an eye trained at looking at architecture with a greater appreciation.

This comprehensive book runs the gamut of architecture from how to hammer a nail to critical analysis. Then, the book continues on,looking at suburban towns and ends with the metropolitan city. Seoul with its towering landscape capped with Seoul Tower at the center of the bustling city, also has within it buildings like the LG Twin Towers, a distinctly Korean image of two, here perhaps two wrestlers grappling each other. The tall, dark Samil Building manifesting a certain Mondrianesque proportion and the Hyatt Hotel standing on the top of a hill like a traditional folding screen are all to be found in the book.

The book opens with an introduction to architecture, defining the basic ternimologies and schools of thought, then later goes on to offer constructive criticism of Seoul's architecture such as the Posco Center and the National Museum of Contemporary Art. Complete and extensive, the book also offers 300 photographs and 80 colour plates.

Professor Seo said, "Why should we always have to talk about tile-roof houses and traditional eaves. Those aren't the only apsects of our architecture. Seoul is filled with modern architecture that can be defined as distinctly Korean. We need to talk more about our architecture today."

by Shin Yong-ho

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