This study is mainly focused on the Other faces expressed at the boundary of the house centered on the main gate. It especially sheds light on the attitude of the subject facing the world(other) regarding the interpretation toward otherness and analyz ...
This study is mainly focused on the Other faces expressed at the boundary of the house centered on the main gate. It especially sheds light on the attitude of the subject facing the world(other) regarding the interpretation toward otherness and analyzes this through Emmanuel Levinas’s ethical theory. While a subject makes diverse boundaries called “Itself”when facing the world, the gate faces the street(world) as the boundary of the forefront, representing the house owner who is the subject. This study examined the aspects of the changing main gate-face accordingly to the attitude of the boundary of the main gate to the others on the street, the epistemological possibilities and ontological significance of the main gate –face showing hospitality toward the world through various examples of main gates.
First, through the examples of Korean traditional houses, it was confirmed that the Korea’s main gate has a boundary characteristic that is flexibly controlled and corresponding to the Other space which is a village. Generally, research on main gates is focused on a single object that makes a boundary among the inside and outside of the house. However, according to the results of this study, it was confirmed that the landscape significance within the community unit is more important than the independent unit when it comes to the significance of boundary for a Korean main gate. According to the location of the house in the whole village layout, the boundary formation method changes, common landscape of the village community forms, and the format and height of the main gate change according to the geographical residential condition. Likewise, they were following the principle of circumstantial response rather than the immanent constitutional principle. Having a loose consciousness of boundaries that changes flexibly corresponding to the outside means that there is a wide range of relations with others which projects self. In other words, main gates of Korean traditional houses have the possibility of friendly hospitality in that the relationship with the Others(the world), not I(home), was established in terms of communication, not severance or submission.
The boundary consciousness toward other in the main gates of China and Japan, which belong to the same Northeast Asian culture, was different from that of Korea. In case of China, the subject-centered reason specific to China, such as Sinocentrism, was appearing at the Siheyuan housings a self-centered introversion. This closed and exclusive boundary consciousness, which strictly focuses on a single self-area centered on the house, creates a main gate-face that closes the possibility of hospitality for the Other. On the other hand, the main gate of Japan has a characteristic that it is not prosaic compared to the other two countries. Due to the modest culture or culture submissive to the community that is unique to Japan, the main gate-face were visually unified within the extended line of the village community. In order to lower oneself and ask the other side to be also careful, the boundary consciousness to carefully watch out the other side rather than greeting others with hospitality can be read from the main gate–face of Japan.
Through these various case studies, the boundary significance of otherness of main gates was examined centered on the possibility of hospitality of houses. Generally, hospitality means that the owner of the house welcomes the other outside the house and lets them enter the house, so the main gate becomes the first place of hospitality since it is the first to encounter from outside. The main gate is also a place where the subject carries out responsibilities to return the ‘already’ received hospitality. According to Levinas, the subject is a resident earlier than the resident ‘inside’ the house and has already received the best hospitality from the Other[Autre] who sets up and empties the house for the subject. It is the ethical duty of the subject to return it to the others[autre] of the street. However, in modern housing culture, the main gate is a place to watch out intrusion from stranger, others, and to send a silent sign not to enter without permission. However, a house cannot exist in isolation from the world, and it has to show an attitude to face the world in any way. In the modern society where the hostility against the Other emerges as a social problem, the hospitality of the main gate-face brings us to the consider the origin of the attitude that architecture faces the world. For this reason, unconditional hospitality that Levinas talks about in the house and the main gates cannot realistically happen, but it is meaningful to look at the possibility of other hospitality of architecture, even with a small possibility.