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‘Cities are like thick books that reveal their true values‘

‘Cities are like thick books that reveal their true values‘

Posted December. 10, 2020 07:31,   

Updated December. 10, 2020 07:31


The value of objects taken for granted are truly appreciated only after they have been lost. One may wonder if the days of unfettered overseas travel, as we have done before the pandemic, would possibly return? The more remote the possibility seems, the more vicarious the pleasure is we get from stories of overseas travels.

“Urban Humanities”, written by couple Roh Eun-ju and Lim Hyeong-nam, co-owners of Kaon Architects, is a book of chronicles of urban space and its loose connections. Readers will feel as if they are listening to stories told by an erudite friend over a friendly cup of coffee.

“We chose 21 cities in 13 countries, such as Seattle, Schijndel and Naoshima, that we personally found interesting and had lots of stories to tell, rather than those of architectural significance,” said Lim in Schijndel in an e-mail interview.

Most people find it difficult to stay as long as they wish to when they travel, even though they have yearned to visit for a long time. The authors took advantage of opportunities they could find in their tight schedule – group trips, business trips and package tours. They invested 20 minutes of their time on a tight tour bus package to view Sultan Han, a caravanserai in Konya, Turkey.

“Cities are accumulated upon multiple tiers of time. It is always interesting to travel, get to know the people and the structure shown from inside,” Lim said. “Next time, I hope to stay in a small town in the Aegean Sea to visit the libraries of Ephesus.”

Taek Kyoon Sohn sohn@donga.com