Je Ahn’s inspiration: Tongdosa temple complex, South Korea

Tongdosa temple complex, South Korea

Source: Wikicommons

Studio Weave co-founder finds himself continually drawn back to a place he first encountered as a child

Tongdosa temple complex, near Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea

Constructed: 7th century onwards


I was born and raised in the south-east corner of the Korean peninsula. Tongdosa was about an hour away from my village in what was then the middle of nowhere on Mount Chiseosan.

As one of three famous temples in South Korea housing relics of Buddha, Tongdosa is a key site of the Buddhist movement in the Korean peninsula. My family isn’t religious, but we visited it every year or so and I’ve continued to do so even after moving to the UK when I was 13. It has many special qualities that keep pulling me back – every time I return to Korea, I go back to Tongdosa.

This is premium content. 

Only logged in subscribers have access to it.

Login or SUBSCRIBE to view this story

Gated access promo

Existing subscriber? LOGIN

A subscription to Building Design will provide:

  • Unlimited architecture news from around the UK
  • Reviews of the latest buildings from all corners of the world
  • Full access to all our online archives
  • PLUS you will receive a digital copy of WA100 worth over £45.

Subscribe now for unlimited access.

Alternatively REGISTER for free access on selected stories and sign up for email alerts