Tradition & Culture - Chung Won San Bang
Chung Won San Bang is located in Bukchon Hanok Village in Jongno. Master craftsman Sim Yong-
sik is one of Seoul’s intangible cultural assets, and this small museum showcases 40 years of his
work making traditional Korean windows and sliding doors. His doors and windows come together
harmoniously with the room to bring ventilation and light. Here, you can see a variety of traditional
windows and doors in one place, as well as witness care and mastery in every detail of the home.
The main entrance to Chung Won San Bang.
From the entrance, the hanok makes a U shape around the courtyard.
The artisan’s hanok
Chung Won San Bang was originally Sim Yong-sik’s place of personal residence, but he remodeled
it to suit modern Korean tastes as well as to share with foreigners the hanok’s beauty and his
traditional craft. His title of “somokjang” signifies an artisan who crafts windows, doors, armoires,
desks and other furniture for buildings and other structures. At Chung Won San Bang, you will find
wood work meant for standard homes along with those designed for palaces and Buddhist temples.
To the left of the main building are modern-style bathrooms.
Inside the main building, Kim Song-sik has laid out all the traditional tools he uses, and visitors
can also try their hand at puttingtogether the frame of a sliding door.
The beauty and excellence of traditional Korean carpentry
The main building of Chung Won San Bang smells like pine trees and has a delicate and soft
ambiance. To the left of the main hall is the master bedroom and to the right is the secondary room.
Usually, the master room, the main hall, and the second room are separated by sliding doors. One
part of the sliding doors is papered to let in light, and another part is able to be hoisted when the
need arises to combine the three rooms. If the doors to both the master and secondary rooms are
removed, the resulting large and breezy space acts as one room. On the wall of the main hall, there
are speakers that are designed into the traditional window and door design. Chung Won San Bang
is not a place that insists on only the past, but integrates the traditional and modern into its
The door handles are made with quality leather.
The hall of the main building exudes a soft and warm ambiance.
A great place to see traditional Korean architecture and style
A geomungo, a traditional Korean musical instrument, lies inside the second room, as do a
stationery chest, shelves, and low tables made with the same floral lattice design used in the doors
and windows. There are four window layers in this room. The one furthest from the interior is the
outer window, which is made of glass and has a floral lattice design. The outside handles are iron
rings shaped like chrysanthemums. The next layer is a screen window to keep out insects. In the
past, people used to attach silk cloth to the windows to prevent insects from entering. Next is a
sliding window, and on the most inward side of the four-layer set-up is a sliding window pocket. The
sliding window pocket, from which hangs a drawing, hides the other windows when they are open to
maintain a clean look inside the room.
The entrance to the second room.
A geomungo, the traditional Korean instrument, lies inside the second room.
The view from the window
The master and second rooms are both covered in varnished and lacquered hemp cloth that is anti-
bacterial and moth-proof. A sliding door plastered with large drawing and writing cut-outs separate
the master room from the main hall. On the master bedroom side of the door, there is an octagonal
opening, which was made just to peek outside or get some air without having to slide open the
entire door. Next, Sim Yong-sik designed a tree and branch-shaped sideways door to fit the living
room area, which was the former kitchen and has a curved and low threshold. Above the sideways
door is an elaborate window with a Buddhist design. Harmony envelopes your mind as you take in
the view through the windows. The hanok even boasts a rare “full moon” door, called so because it
is shaped like a full moon in springtime, that was only allowed in royal palaces. Through the full
moon door is the current kitchen.
Drawings and writings pasted onto the sliding doors that separate the master room from the main hall.
The former kitchen is now used as a living room.
Chung Won San Bang School of Carpentry
Coming out of Chung Won San Bang’s front gate, make a right and follow the alley to find Sim Yong-
sik’s Chung Won San Bang School of Carpentry. Here, he personally teaches his craft to those who
have interest in traditional carpentry or want to make their own Korean sliding doors, windows, or
Coming out of Chung Won San Bang’s front gate, make a right and follow the alley to find
Sim Yong-sik’s Chung Won San Bang School of Carpentry.
People of all ages and professions come to learn from Sim Yong-sik.