Forgotten Monuments

Forgotten Monuments

Reinventing East Asian Timber Structures



Since the early 20th centuries, traditional East Asian architecture has faced an extinct situation, which Liang Sicheng already stated in his notable book, "Pictorial History of Chinese Architecture".   Since the early 20th centuries, the traditional timber frame building in East Asia countries such as China, Japan, and Korea has been replaced by a new building system with reinforced concrete and steel frames. Moreover, globalization blurred boundaries between countries of different continents so that characteristic in architecture of regions had been ambiguous and absorbed to single architectural paradigm, Modernism, rooted to Western culture. This situation has get traditional East Asian architecture lost its realm which lasted for thousands years. 

Obstacles to modernize East Asian timber frame buildings are, firstly, the insufficiency of major construction material, timber, secondly inefficiency of construction comparing to modern buildings, lastly, un-standardization for building elements. For example, the parts of the roof structure such as the wooden bracketing system were the amazingly difficult part for industrialization due to their complexity of joinery by finite elements.

However, by virtue of advanced computer design methodologies such as algorithmic design, East Asian traditional architecture may have the new realm of design challenge. Especially, besides all the elements in Asian timber frame building, the wooden bracketing system called as dou-gong in China and gong-po in Korea will get advantages. 

In the new context of using the recent developments of computational methodologies in design and fabrication, series of researches and built works intend to make a novel step in reinventing the traditional wooden structural system for a new design as well as the efficiency of production and construction. 

About the Team


JK-AR is an agenda-based architecture practice founded in 2017 by Jae K. Kim. JK-AR is the platform for design experiments. We create space and form to give new experiences. We study materials and construction methodologies for the future building industry. We think of visions for human life through architecture.

In this context, JK-AR aims to develop new means of design as well as construction methods through today’s advanced technology. With the seamless studies of design computation, digital fabrication, and material application, the office challenges to transform a building industry. We believe special feeling by exceptional architecture can be achieved by the extreme endeavor through state of the art techniques.

Recently, JK-AR is developing the new application of conventional materials, focusing on wood and concrete. Especially for wood under the agenda, ‘Forgotten Monuments,’ the office is dedicated to studies recreating traditional East Asian timber frame buildings by contemporary engineered woods with digital solutions. Also, the office investigates to rethink of concrete construction through advanced manufacturing strategies such as 3D printers, with the agenda, ‘Solid Nature.‘


Jae K. Kim-Principal

Jae K. Kim, is an architect, a researcher, and an educator. Currently, he is an assistant professor at Hanyang University and the principal of JK-AR. He studied architectural engineering at Hanyang University in Seoul, and later architecture and urbanism at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Jae has been awarded Imre Halasz Thesis Prize for excellence in his master’s thesis from MIT, the Gold Medal from American Architecture Prize in 2016, and the 2nd Prize from Korean Wooden Design Awards in 2017. Jae is also the recipient of national research grants given from 2015’ to 2018’. Jae’s design and research work has been published widely in international journals and books such as the Architectural Review, the U.K. and Space Magazine, South Korea.

CV / Personal Webpage / email:

Yesol Lee - Architectural Designer / email:

Jinho Shin - Architectural Designer

Sookran Kwak - Architectural Designer

Youngjune Lee - Architectural Designer