Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sungnyemun Restoration

In the rapidly expanding forest of skyscrapers in Seoul, one modest architectural structure stands still proudly. That is non other than the Songnyemun, National Treasure No.1.

A disaster fire engulfed the wooden gate four years ago but now the country’s master craftsmen's are dedicating their time and talent to restore the historical monument.

Currently, the project is three-quarters accomplished. Carpenters are assembling the gatehouse on the second level. The administration plans to complete the frame by the end of this June.

East of the site was originally slanted, but with the development of roads the ground level was lowered. They will be installing stonework to even the ground.

The administration is striving to use material similar to the original structure. Each piece of wood is shaped by hand. Even the tools used for restoration were made specifically for this project.

For the “dancheong” (traditional multicolored paintwork on wooden buildings), the agency will primarily use blue and green to create an elegant exterior.

The highlight will be “sangnyangsik,” ceremony of putting up the ridge beam to mark the completion of the gate’s frame, scheduled for March 8. They are going to put on the roof at the end of October.

The new structure will be armed with heat sensors, security cameras, and sprinklers to prevent any fire hazard.And the five-year restoration process will end on Dec. 13th with the removal of the protective structure around the gate and will get to see the newest one.

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