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Gangnam Style - A Deeper Look at Korean Gangnam


The intent of this research is to identify an insignificant yet powerful factor in Korean home typology: the officetel. A portmanteau of Hotel and the English boarding school, the officetel used to be an administrative workstation with few primary residential centers. Like most buildings of its kind across Asia, but the building eventually evolved into more than just a workplace. Its architectural design has been especially tailored to offer comfortable and stylish living conditions for inhabitants. Even though the specific intent of this structure has remained largely unknown, what is known about it reveals a curious parallel with the evolution of several modern structures from Korea and other Asian countries.

Just as resorts gradually took on the aspect of comfortable places to unwind in the evening, so too have modern Korean residences adopted the identical aesthetic approach. In fact, the very styling of many modern Korean homes precludes the possibility of their ever being fully supplied. The structure's architecture and design strongly suggest that it had been constructed with furnishing as the most crucial component of design. In fact, at the time of building, the architects practically never made any attempt to furnish the structure at all. This may seem surprising given the emphasis on compactness that is common to modern Korean structure, but the consequence of this approach was to achieve the cheapest type of housing without compromising comfort.

The result was the creation of what was to become the familiarly recognizable Korean homestay or apartment, complete with the familiar open front doors, sliding glass doors, and other traditional homemaker features. However, because of the short timeframe allowed for construction, the officetel of Korean origin were constructed entirely on site and then shipped to their destination. While the waiting period for completion was considerable, this made the available supply of home far more than could have been achieved if constructed on site. This increased the whole demand and obviously resulted in an increase in price.

The eventual adoption of local production led to an increase in supply and cut down on waiting time for the final products. Of course, there were still the odd lot that could not wait and opted for the foreign manufacturers. In reaction to this, several changes were made to the Korean language legislation to enable foreigners to patent their Seoul offices. While this helped to a degree to protect some of the more obscure layouts, it did little to address the overall problem of limited quantities being generated. These problems became especially acute when Korean artists began to be hired on a regular basis from western nations.

While the objective of selling Seoul apartments was still the same - to provide living space for Koreans - the incentives for landlords were now much more complicated. From the north, they were able to secure contracts based upon the construction of their establishments, no matter whether these were homes or offices. In the south, there was no law permitting Koreans into establishments owned by foreigners (that is known as the"foreign association rule"). Further hindrances faced by Koreans working abroad included the inability to leave the country without reporting to their employer(s) and the risk of possible deportation. However, it's generally believed that the most significant factor in dissuading Koreans from leaving the country was the danger of imprisonment. As a result, many defectors (who chose to stay in the country and continue to work) decided to live in the Gangnam Bogeum District instead of the capital Seoul.

Several factors made this relocation option particularly attractive. Firstly, it meant that Koreans residing in the Gangnam District received preferential treatm

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