[Tenny's Architectural Reminiscence] The Grand Symbol of Ewha
[Tenny's Architectural Reminiscence] The Grand Symbol of Ewha
  • 김태연 기자
  • 승인 2006.04.05 00:00
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▲ Photo by Kim Ji-sun. The stony castle-like exterior represents Ewha's glory and pride.

   The Welch-Ryang Auditorium is known to Ewha students as the "dae-gang-dang," which means large lecture hall. Here, all Ewha students are required to attend chapel services at least once a week. In fact, it's so much a part of daily campus life that few students even think about its name.
   This auditorium, which is one of the symbols of Ewha, has shared various memories with Ewha ever since May, 1956. It only took a year to build. At the time of its construction, it was the biggest auditorium in Korea and in Asia. With its grand size and elegant look, it was and is the pride of Ewha.
   "I feel that I am a part of Ewha sitting in the auditorium. I see so many Ewha students and think this place brings a feeling of unity to all of us," says Kim Yoo-kyung (Journalism, 3). Some also compare the auditorium to the Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter movies, enjoying its stony castle-like exterior.
   Some additional facts: the stairway leading from Ewha's front gate to the auditorium is called "the stairway of death" because it has 45 steps and goes up such a steep slope. These steps were completed in 1965. And in 1966, the 80th anniversary of Ewha, heaters and bathrooms were installed and the white cross on the building's front fa뛞de was built. The auditorium's interior was further remodeled recently, resulting in better acoustics and improved seating. The main hall now seats 3,545 people. This is the complete Welch-Ryang Auditorium we see today. Inside the building, although you might not easily recognize it, there is a pipe-organ that the alumni of College of Music donated in 1984.
   Ever since it was built, the auditorium has been a place for Ewha students to worship together as well as being the venue for many different shows. Before the Sejong Cultural Center was opened in 1978, it was an important site for cultural performances and thus made contribution to the development of Korea's cultural heritage.
   Many believe that the auditorium is named the Welch-Ryang after donors who contributed something to its constructions, but that is not so. Half of the construction cost was donated by students, staff, alumni and other supporters and the other half of the funds were raised by foreign supporters. The name of the building was chosen to commemorate the achievements and contributions to Korea as Christians of Reverent Hardvard Welch and Reverent Ryang Joo-sam. Rev. Ryang was also director of Paiwha Girls High School in 1941.
   From now on, when you attend chapel, remember the prayers and sacrifices that have gone into creating the campus we enjoy today.

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