The giwa roof is one of Korea's traditional roof forms. The roof is in harmony with the mountains, rivers and natural fields around us. This shows our ancestors’ life assimilated with nature. The form, having the beauty of a curve, expresses the aesthetics of Korea very well. The ends of the eaves of a giwa roof bending toward the sky resemble the curve of hanbok and beoseon (Korea’s traditional costume and socks). Once you look at the roof, you will fall under its charm.
A giwa roof is beautiful, grand, and scientific. In the three-dimensional structure, the eave’s curve, designed to help rain drainage, gives visual stability and overall comfort. The curve makes the roof look agile and rhythmic too, so the giwa roof, which is very large and weighty, having long eaves and consisting of heavy tiles, looks weightless. Of course, the infrastructure of the giwa roof is designed closely to distribute the load. The long eaves of a giwa roof can easily be regarded as mere beauty and ostentation. But there are scientific reasons hidden in it. First, as the deep eaves structure blocks sunlight when the sun is high in the summer and helps sunlight to come deep into the house when the sun is low in the winter, the inside of the building is maintained at suitable temperatures. In addition, the eaves keep out the air current, so the insulation effect is greater. The other reason is to protect the house from rainstorms, because the building is made of wood, soil and paper.
However, although the giwa roof is the result of our ancient wisdom, nowadays we rarely see giwa roofs except in specific areas and temples. Because of Japanese imperial rule, the Korean war and rapid modernization in the last 50 years, most of them have disappeared. It is a very pitiful situation. Specifically, as we live in a westernized society, we become indifferent to our own. Now, we should know that the house which is full of naturalness is much more extraordinary and gives humans truth and beauty. So, we must try to care deeply about the giwa roof and continue developing it.
Jeong Hwan-su -
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