These architectural adaptations from China continued into
the late 1300s and early 1400s with the arrival of the Tap'o Style, which was
derived from the Song Dynasty in China. This blossomed under the Confucian Joseon
Dynasty (or Choson; 1392-1897). During this time there was a significant shift from
building pagodas, as Buddhism was rejected by the new leadership.
Many buildings were built in the Tap'o style, but some of the best are also
the earliest, including the Simwon Temple's Pokwangjon Hall and the Sokwang
Temple's Eungjinjon Hall, both from the late 1300s (in North
Korea). In addition to these early Tap'o buildings, numerous other examples
from the Joseon Dynasty remain today. Much of the still standing architecture in
this style was built during the latter half of the Joseon Dynasty's reign and
the bulk of it was built in Seoul. The massive Kyongbok Palace (1500s, but destroyed
and rebuilt in 1865-1867) in Seoul is a great recreation of this style in the palace
form. The temples from this time and in this style are also numerous, including
the Hua'om Temple, Kaisim Temple, Muwi Temple, and the Pongjong Temple. Despite
the lack of pagoda-building, there is a significant marble pagoda in the Tap'o
style in Seoul's Pagoda Park.
In 1910 the Korean Peninsula was taken over by Japan and this
foreign occupier encouraged traditional Japanese architecture. This led to the building
of some new Japanese-styled buildings, but more often just resulted in the lack
of maintenance in traditional Korean structures and the destruction of some. The
Japanese also introduced the Neo-Classical style from Europe
and the Seoul Station (1925) and Seoul City Hall (1926) are both prime examples
of this style.
After World War II Japan lost control over the Korean Peninsula
and shortly after the peninsula was divided into north and south. The south fell
under strong American influence and their
architectural style moved likewise. With freedom, many traditional buildings were
restored and new ones were built, but in the capital of Seoul, American modernism
arrived in full force. Seoul, along with Busan and Incheon have become cities filled
with skyscrapers and neon lights, literally growing up.
South Korea has also built a huge number of modern sports
complexes in recent years as they have hosted both the Olympics (1988) and the World
Cup (2002). In both of these cases, they welcomed architecture from around the world
to combine traditional Korean elements with modern functionality and design.
The post-modern movement in South Korea has continued
on the path of American styles as skyscrapers
continue to build upward and modernism and convenience tends to win over style as
numerous traditional styles are being slowly rejected by the people.