28. Choi Sun-u’s Old House, a Model of Simplistic Traditional Beauty
Mr. Choi Sun-u (pen-name: Hyegok; 1916~1984) is regarded as one of the three leading figures from Gaeseong, along with Hwang Su-yeong (a Buddhist art historian) and Jin Hong-seop (a fine art historian). He left his mark on the history of fine arts in Korea in his capacity as the director of the National Museum of Korea and as an art historian.
His book Leaning against the Baeheullim Pillar of Muryangsujeon Hall has become a must-read book for anyone interested in the beauty of Korean traditional architecture. He wrote the book in this house, which is a fine example of the “ㅁ”-shaped Korean-style houses commonly found in Gyeonggi Province. It is presumed to have been built in the 1930s. He lived here from 1976 until 1984. At present, the women’s quarters is used as an exhibition space, the east-wing servants’ quarters as an office, and the west-wing servants’ quarters as a meeting room.
When the house was in danger of demolition due to redevelopment of the area in 2002, the National Trust of Korea raised the necessary funds and took charge of it, preserving as a cultural heritage.