Architecture

The major elements of the shrine, lecture hall, dormitories, and pavilion at the nominated property are the creative outcome
of the Korean interpretation of Neo-Confucian concept into architectural type.
Characteristics are displayed in the buildings, use of the surrounding area, and architectural details. Veneration, learning,
interaction areas of the nominated property are composed of signature buildings that help execute the appropriate functions of
each area. The veneration area is composed of a shrine, veneration preparatory chamber, and storage room for utensils
and vessels used for rites.
Spiritual tablets or portraits of venerated scholars and an observance altar are found inside the shrine, although the composition of the altar, its location, and the procedures for the veneration differ from seowon to seowon.

Related building of the learning area included a lecture hall, dormitories, and a library. The lecture hall is mainly manifested in
a four or five-kan (sometimes used as bay, kan is a traditional unit of measurement of Korean architecture, referring to a space
between the two supporting columns of traditional structures) with a three-kan space in the middle composed of an open floor.
The interaction area features a pavilion in the typical architectural form for seowon. Pavilions reflect a unity of Korean traditional
floor culture that provides a venue for sarim’s social activities of discussion and nature appreciation.
In some cases, stones are engraved to announce the significance of Neo-Confucianism.

< Cross sectional drawing Seowon >

Sosu

Namgye

Oksan

Dosan

Piram

Dodong

Byeongsan

Museong

Donam

 

1. Veneration area

Veneration for the late enshrined scholars at the shrine has been sustained at the nominated property.
Through the process of establishing and passing down their own academic genealogies, Neo-Confucian scholars became
naturally interested in honoring domestic scholars. Replacing the more traditional venerated figures with local scholars provides
tangible evidence of the Koreanization of seowon culture and its original development.
Another unique feature of seowon in Korea is that they refused to include popular beliefs, nature-oriented veneration or
vernacular religions, all of which wish to attract good luck.

2. Study area

As educational institutes, seowon kept their major focus on fostering new generations of scholars.
Each seowon maintained separate regulations on education and operations.
Educational regulations existed in various forms depending on the conditions at the academy.
Although Sosu-seowon first defined the basic rules for education, subsequent academies established their own as well.
The seowon curricula were distinctive from today’s education in that it offered both individual and group classes.
Individual lessons were provided in the form of reading Neo-Confucian textbooks, while group classes promoted discussions
on different topics.

3. Interaction area

The key to intellectual activities is to make them public and expand them into social and political arenas.
Public opinion is strongly associated with political issues. Scattered around rural areas, the nominated property served to
collect diverse opinions.
To find a secluded place to appreciate nature and cultivate the mind and body, sarim opted for a location near mountains
and water.
A pavilion is a type of architecture that offers relation while enjoying the surrounding landscape.
Built in an open area with uninterrupted views, a pavilion creates conditions for contemplating the universe.
Rather than appreciating the building itself based on its appearance, pavilions were designed for the enjoyment of nature
from within.