Korean Public Bathhouse: Potential of Interiority

Main Article Content

Issue Vol. 6 No. 2 (2023)
Published Jul 25, 2023
Section Articles
Article downloads 233
DOI: https://doi.org/10.7454/in.v6i2.354
Submitted : Jun 18, 2023 | Accepted : Jul 15, 2023

Michelle Boyoung Huh


This essay introduces the Korean public bathhouse, jjimjil-bang, to understand the concept of interiority from sociocultural and psychological perspectives. The author addresses interiority as a continuous process of defining the range of intimacy that changes with context, space, and time. Interiority involves individuating spatial and situational moments in the blended physical, perceived, and imaged environment. In exploring interiority, the case of jjimjil-bang suggests broad perspectives for understanding spatial circumstances as an integration of the activity, environment, and situation. The author introduces the characteristics of jjimjil-bang in terms of the program, spatial structure, and meaning of memory. To demonstrate the potential of interiority, the concepts of private-public, interiority-exteriority, inclusivity-exclusivity, closeness-openness, and the quotidian issue are discussed. Consequently, the author highlights the individual's subjectivity of spatial perception, the desire for intimacy, and the individual's engagement in shaping interiority. Thus, the range of interiority is expanded from self to outworld beyond the physical space.

Keywords: interiority, Korean public bathhouse, interior architecture, ambiguity

Article Details

How to Cite
Huh, M. B. (2023). Korean Public Bathhouse: Potential of Interiority. Interiority, 6(2), 159–176. https://doi.org/10.7454/in.v6i2.354
Author Biography

Michelle Boyoung Huh, University of Arkansas, USA

Michelle Huh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Interior Architecture and Design at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, University of Arkansas. She received a Bachelor of Architecture from Korea University and a Master of Interior Design from the University of Texas at Austin through the post-professional program. She has practised in the retail design industry as a designer and a project manager, experiencing various scales of integrated design projects. To respond to the changes in the built environment that technology is bringing, her research broadly focuses on exploring the concept of spatial perception in both digital and physical interior environments. Currently, with her interest in the concept of interiority, she is conducting research about VR applications in architecture education, digital environmental design in introducing the physical quality of spatial perception, and the adaptive reuse of underutilised infrastructure for community resiliency.


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