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Will be visiting Korea for a bit of vacation.
Already did a search for can't-miss architecture in Seoul: consisted of Mass Studies bldgs, OMA, Morphosis, Dominque Perrault, etc...
How about other areas in Korea? I'm willing to travel far if it's worth it!
Also, does anyone know if the Prada Transformer is still up? or was it only a temporary structure?
eat lots of mondu and beef bulgogi.heyri art valley (SHoP, mass studies, et al)
Definitely visit Heyri Art Valley. Its like an architects' candy store. There are guest houses you can stay in, albeit pretty expensive but pretty damn awesome. I think I mentioned staying at Motif1 here on archinect. Pretty cool place with a very interesting owner.
DMZ is worth it, and if you'd like do the tour where you can actually visit Panmunjeom where you can for a couple minutes technically be in North Korea. Thats one place where Korean citizens can't visit, but as a foreigner you can! I don't recommend getting the optional passport stamp there though where it mentions north korea. You might have an up-close encounter with Customs
The country is small enough and well connected by train that you can visit anywhere in the country even within a week. You can take a train from Seoul to the opposite side of the country in a couple of hours.
Depending on how long you're staying, you can also take a boat to Japan and meet some interesting people on the boat ride. I think I mentioned on Archinect about encountering some possible organized crime members on there. Straight out of a bad Yakuza movie.
Paju book city was a fairly interesting visit, too - plus, not too far from Seoul...
I have a building in Seoul. No joke. Ok, it's not MINE, but I did most (70%?) of the DD (the Korean firm did CD).
I'm planning a trip to Seoul (and possibly other cities...) next month, and I've started t to compile a list/map of contemporary architecture, historical sites, and interesting neighborhoods... this is just a first pass - I would appreciate comments/suggestions from anyone who's familiar with Seoul - let me know if I'm missing anything major:
I've already noted Paju Book City, and Heyri Art Valley... but not the specific buildings there. Is there anything to see yet at Songdo New City, or Yongsan International Business District?
So far I've focused on Seoul, but I'd be interested in hearing about major projects in other cities or out in the countryside. Is there anything to see in Yeosu, now that the Expo is closed?
Oh, bummer, the 2012 Expo in Yeosu has already closed. For some reason I was thinking it ran until September.
Even so, it might be worth checking out to get a sense of how the architecture of the pavilions has altered the waterfront.
Don't know if you are interested in traditional buildings . . .
You might enjoy Haeinsa temple: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haeinsa
I would recommend to stay a night at Buseoksa Temple (worship with the monks): http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/SI/SI_EN_3_1_1_1.jsp?cid=264145
and visit Byeongsan Seowon (which is close to Andong etc.): http://www.orientalarchitecture.com/koreasouth/andong/byeongsan.php
The biggest holiday in Korea is on Sept. 30th, so you should try not to travel on the day before and after. The traffic will be just crazy.
Thanks for the tips, guys. I am interested in traditional buildings - temples, Confucian academies, temples, etc.
For Chuseok festival - do you think there will be much going on in Seoul, or does the city empty out as everyone heads 'home'?
My current plan is to spend 4 or 5 days in Seoul and 3 or 4 somewhere else, so if there are some festival events in the city, that could work out perfectly.
I'm not trying to tour the entire country in a week, but it would be great to get to the countryside, or at least to a smaller city with some traditional architecture/nature reserves.
The city doesn't really empty out during the festival; it might be more interesting time to visit places like Insadong district or Gwanghwa-Gate, because there SHOULD be some kind of festivities going on for foreign tourists. As long as you don't go to major transit hubs on Saturday and Monday (the festival falls on Sunday this year), it'll be fine... just stay awayyyy from any major highway.
Insadong (you have it on your google map) is the best place to hangout and do touristy stuff. There are some interesting modern buildings in the district (Korean influenced new modern buildings... not great, but not too bad, either).
If you want to see some old temples and such, you should check out what sotho suggested above, or GyeongJu http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyeongju A lot of (if not all) historic buildings were burned down/bombed/flattened during Korean War, and only place that didn't get a lot of damage is the southeast part of the country, so naturally one can find some real authentic treasures on that area. If you don't have time to travel outside of Seoul, I think it's perfectly fine to visit a couple of big palaces, like Deoksugung or Kyungbokgung.
I got kicked out (I was already outside!!!) while taking some pictures at Samsung bldg by Vinoly.... oh, btw, that's not HQ of Samsung; Samsung HQ is literally across from MassStudies' Boutique Monaco (awesome building), and it's done by KPF.
One last thing; it might be a bit tricky to go inside of Dominique Perrault's building at Ewha University, since they tend to kick you out if you are not with a student (or any girl who can pretend she is a student)... but don't get discouraged; inside is so so, but the whole "scar" is awesome.