Religious Prosperity Calling Cultural Progress: Architectural Discourses on Korean Catholic Churches (1979–94)


After the Korean War (1950–53), the South-Korean Catholic population increased unprecedentedly, despite the Confucian roots of the nation. From 1979, this Catholic boom reached a climax, which was accompanied by the 200th anniversary of the Korean Catholic Church in 1984 and celebrated with commemorative cultural events and projects. Pope John Paul II visited Seoul twice, in 1984 and 1989. The population proportion of South-Korean Catholics reached about 7.5 per cent in 1994, but their growth rate began to decrease shortly after. How did the 1984 bicentennial celebration of the Korean Catholic Church affect the development of church architectural discourses within Korean art, architectural and Catholic societies during the Catholic prime from 1979 to 1994? This research explores the discourses of three most influential magazines: Space (1966–), Monthly Architecture & Culture (1981–) and Kyeonghyang Magazine (1906–). Surveying their articles revealed that the bicentennial celebration of 1984 developed the styles, distinctiveness and influence of Korean church architectural discourses. It facilitated more church projects which brought more elaborate methods for generating discourses and encouraged the authors and readers to reflect on Korean identity in church art and architecture. Additionally, it allowed the discourses to affirm the significance of Korean church architecture in general Korean architecture.

Author Information
Youngji Kang, KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Belgium

Paper Information
Conference: KAMC2020
Stream: Architecture

This paper is part of the KAMC2020 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Kang Y. (2021) Religious Prosperity Calling Cultural Progress: Architectural Discourses on Korean Catholic Churches (1979–94) ISSN: 2436-0503 – The Kyoto Conference on Arts, Media & Culture 2020: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon