"Going to Traditional Korean Villages", a two-volume book on traditional Korean villages, is published in Seoul by Book Road Publishing company in November 2004. The two volumes are said to be the first ones on the shelf of comprehensive books on the traditional Korean settlement. The author, architecture professor Han Pil-won, has been researching about traditional Asian settlements for two decades. He says, "This book is the first plateau in my long tough mountaineering. The next plateau will be about Chinese villages."
     "Going to Traditional Korean Villages" visits 12 Korean villages that are selected over South Korea mainly based on architectural quality. In the book, twelve villages are classified under 4 categories; Thought (Spirit Underlain in Traditional Villages; Ot-gol, Hangae, Nagan-eupseong), culture (Korean Culture Embodied in Traditional Villages; Seong-eup, Hahoe, Gang-gol), sociology (Social Relations Embedded in Traditional Villages; Yangdong, Dorae, Dak-sil) and environmental ecology (Environmental Friendly Wisdom Found in Traditional Villages; Wontuh, Oeam, Wang-gok).
     Instead of arguing for and praising the tradition, the book takes us deep into the details and hidden stories of traditional living space. The book shows how to elucidate the intricate interplay of architecture, history, sociology, culture, folklore, and even science. From uncommon synthesis of all the aspects of settlement, the book derives new directions of architecture and dwelling that deserve to be followed universally. So, the further you read, the more you look at the present and the future, not the past. In this sense, the book is distinguished from many of today's books about regional traditions that are eagerly romanticizing tradition to stimulate our nostalgia.
     There surely is author's enthusiasm to unveil traditional Korean architecture to the global audience. That may partly answer the reason why he focuses the universal characteristics of Korean dwellings and settlements rather than their peculiarities. Fortunately, he doesn't go further since he believes that only seeing traditional Korean villages is enough to be attracted. So, he makes an effort to analyze villages to uncover the facts with natural-scientific strictness. Of course, the book deals with the aesthetics, merits and values of the villages, but only when they are verified.
     Besides architecture aficionados, the book will be of great use to anyone considering tours of traditional Korean villages. The book is enough to make them nice guided tours. Actually its every chapter finishes with a kind tour guide of a village and its neighboring area. One more? Yes, the book keeps balance between text and graphic. Almost all pages have a vivid photo or illustration that is produced through extensive field surveys of the author.
     From the birth, the book is attracting all forms of media. Book reviews on "Going to Traditional Korean Villages" appear in many major media in Korea; 16 daily newspapers, 6 weekly or monthly magazines (not including architectural magazines), 3 national television news, and a national radio news (as of Dec. 14, 2005).

About the author
     Han Pilwon is Associate Professor of Architecture at Hannam University in Daejeon, Korea. Professor Han received his Bachelor, Master and Ph. D. degrees in Architecture from Seoul National University.  He worked as an architect before being a professor in 1996. He researched as a visiting scholar at Tshinghua University in Beijing China and at the State University of New York in Buffalo USA. He is a scholar of East Asian Architecture and has done substantial research on traditional settlements in Korea, China and Japan. He is the author of numerous articles and coauthor of several books including Traditional Ecology of Korea (Science Books, 2004, Seoul), The Front Line of Knowledge (Han-gil-sa, 2002, Seoul), and The Cultural Meaning of Dwelling (Sejin-sa, 2000, Seoul). More information about his work can be found on the internet site ATA (Asian Tradition in Architecture <http://ata.hannam.ac.kr>).