the poetic alphabet


August 2013


the buildings act as frameworks

to keep commercial signs upright

they become invisible

covert with characters

from a forgotten poetry

In a country with the least percentage of illiteracy, language determines the architecture. The Korean language was developed at the top of their cultural development, around 1500 AC, when the most brilliant scholars at that time were assigned to develop an alphabet that would be accessible for everyone. By forming the characters to the shape the tong needs to make to produce the sound, they invented a system that would result in hardly any illiteracy.

The alphabet is developed around the three mean vowels: | man, _ horizon/earth, -- sky;  Budhistic symbols that address a unity, which can still be found in the traditional architecture. Within the building tradition materials are local, craftsmanship was trained to excellence, and the context used in the extreme, carving out Buddha images within the existing rocks. The comfort within the Korean House is guaranteed by the fascinated technic of the ‘ondol’ heated floor, a system that since 1200 AC determines their ‘dwelling on the floor’.

South Korea, Spring 2013


Mark Proosten