Korea Travels: Part 2 – Welcome to My Second Home

Korea Travels: Part 2 – Welcome to My Second Home

Korea Travels: Part 2 – Welcome to My Second Home

In addition to seeing two of my friends begin their new married lives, I was able to spend time with family, friends, and explore Korea.

Welcome to My Second Home!

Most cities in Korea are vertically developed cities due to the limitation of its size. Traveling from America, where there is vast amount of land, to a condensed city, it is interesting to see how differently architecture is impacted by its environment and culture.


My parent’s house is located somewhere on the 27th floor. Fear of heights might really work against you when visiting homes in Korea!

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Between all the high-rise residences, the city managed to create some nature gateways and outdoor exercise areas.

Another example of the vertical organization in Korea is the common use of the Automated Mechanical Parking Solutions. It’s like a big vending machine for cars.

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Depending on the building shape and size, there are numerous types of systems. Below are the few common systems used for Automated Mechanical Parking Solution in Korea.

Source   Vertical Rotating System


Source   Sliding Maximum Stacking System


Source   Underground System

Subway : The Main Transportation System of the City

Most of the cities in Korea are walking cities, and one of the main transportation systems is the subway.

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This is the Gangnam Subway Station Entrance. Have you heard of the “Gangnam Style” by “Psy”? This is where he is referring to!

The amazing thing about the subway stations in Korea is that they function as a transportation hub, as well as house shopping malls, cafés, and restaurants. Because Korea is a small country, structures are built vertically and underground, as tunnels to create functional spaces.

Below are some examples of the underground subway shopping areas.


Source   Location: Jamsil Underground Subway Station


Source   Location: Yang-Jae Underground Subway Station


Source   Location: Yang-Jae Underground Subway Station

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Source Location: Gang-nam Underground Subway Station

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Source   Location: Gang-nam Underground Subway Station Restaurant

There are a number of small and quick dine-in type restaurants in the subway stations. Although they are tiny restaurants, they offer a good range of food.

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Source   Location: Gang-nam Underground Subway Station Café
Then there are many to-go cafés where you can pick up a coffee or a dessert on the go.


Family Trip!

My parents and I went on a road trip to Gang Won Do, where we were able to enjoy the beach and mountains simultaneously. Also during this trip we visited my friend’s brand new café, “Glasshaus” that she has recently designed and opened.

Glasshaus was constructed by stacking two shipping container boxes, with minimalist design, that celebrates the beautiful beach environment. It was still in progress when I visited, but was stunning in its concept and design.
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Source (on right); Recent façade pictures
Then and Now!

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Even a shower area is provided by the entrance of the café for the surfers.


This is a custom two way linear revolving door. When it is closed it acts as a huge window. When it opens, it creates another dimension to the space.

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Minimal and beach inspired interior décor.

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The second floor of the Café really encompasses the beach view with its large windows. The large wall of windows frame the beach view as a “Framed Picture.”

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Almost half of the side wall included folding doors to fully open up the space to the outside terrace.

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At night, the Glasshaus has a cozy and inviting atmosphere through its large window.


My parents and I also went up to the Seoraksan Mountain, which is the highest mountain in the Gang-won Province in Eastern South Korea. The highest peak of the Seoraksan, called Daechongbong Peak, reaches 5,603 feet (1,708 meters).

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In 1970, Seoraksan has been designated the 5th National Park in Korea and was also chosen as a nature preservation area.

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We had to ride the cable car up the mountain because we were not prepared for this hike!

Within the mountains were traditional Korean Buddhist Temples, they were very intricate and beautiful.

When you enter the main gate, you must pass through the Four Heavenly Kings. In legend it is told that when passing through this entrance, the Four Heavenly Kings judge you of your good deeds and your sins.

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When you pass through the Four Heavenly Kings, you enter in to a small village of numerous Buddhist Temples.

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The original of the Zen (Seon) temples was built in 653 by Jajang (a royal monk of Silla). The temple was burned to the ground in 699, then rebuilt in 710 and burned again in 1645 and rebuilt in 1648. This Zen (Seon) temple is believed to be the oldest in the world.

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In many of the temples hang the lotus sculptures signifying the purity of the body.


Lastly: Lotte World Tower!

The Lotte World Tower is a 123 Floor 1,821ft Skyscraper which is the 7th tallest building in the world.

This extravagant building will be used for:

  • Floors 1 to 6 will be dedicated to retail, movie theater and aquarium
  • Floors 7 to 60 : offices
  • Floors 61 to 85 : officetel
  • Floors 86 to 119th :  a 7-star luxury hotel
  • The highest floors 120-123 will be available for public access with an observation deck, a cafe, a gallery and an observation shop


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It was truly an amazing building to see in person. It wasn’t complete when I visited, but still unreal.

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Entering the Lotte Tower from the Subway Station.

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Fluid movement leading you into the Lotte Tower World Mall.

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Interior was very unique as well. There were layers, textures, movement, geometry, material changes and so much more.

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Entrance to the Aquarium and the Technology Wall.


Every Floor consisted of a different concept, yet visually very open to one another. There were small elements that were consistent throughout the space to tie the spaces together.

So that sums up my Trip to Korea! Hope you enjoyed it.


Thanks for reading!

Yoomi Miyahira was born in South Korea; throughout her life she has lived in Maui Hawaii, back in South Korea, New York, and currently in Atlanta Georgia. She loves being on the water and outdoors.

1 Comment

  1. Kevin
    September 6, 2016

    Wow amazing!


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