• YongsanLegacy posted an update in the group Group logo of The last prince of KoreaThe last prince of Korea 5 months ago

    Photo of Prince Yi Gu . . . last Emperor of Korea with Robert Collyer 1970-72
    My father took me to hear him speak at one of the temples downtown…he spoke English fairly well . . Before we left…my dad asked for this photo. I just wanted to go back home, reluctantly, as you can see the disinterest in both our faces..haha ….this was at the Royal Palace in Seoul…he wasn’t too thrilled at me when I asked him if he got the new John Lennon ‘Imagine’ album . . .
  • Note from Architect Nam SangSo @sangsonam
    These photos show Yu Wi-jin (late) with Prince Lee. Yu Wi-jin was Prince Lee’s long time mistress. Both photos are from JoongAng Daily
  • Note from Architect Nam SangSo @sangsonam:
    In retrospect of the last Prince of Korea, Kyu Lee 李玖
    1) The designation
    Prince Lee was a fine gentleman who had been addressed by general public in Korea as Mr. Yi Ku, 李玖氏 이구씨, or Prince Lee (이전하 李殿下) by some. The elders at Jeonju Yi Clan (全州李氏大同宗約院) addressed him Prince Lee who was once the Governor of the Yi Clan Office.
    I called him Mr. Lee in the office, and he called me Mr. Nam. Korean government officials addressed him Yi Seonseng-nim (先生님 teacher). American architects and engineers of Trans-Asia Engineers called him Kyu (玖, Gu in Korean, Kyu in Japanese pronunciation) as Prince Lee introduced himself as such. His wife Julia Mullock called him Kyu, too. Somehow, I don’t remember how his mother, Princess Masako or Lady Lee Banja calling her only son. They spoke Japanese, sometimes in English. Japanese business men or government officials always addressed him 李殿下 (Yi den-ka, いでんか) or Prince Lee, as if he was still one of the royal members of the Japanese Imperial House.
    2) The lineage
    The mother of Prince Lee, was known in Korea as Lady Yi Bangja (이방자여사). She had been addressed Princess Nashimotomiya Masako (梨本宮方子), one of the Japanese Imperial Families in her maiden years. She was among threecandidates to be the bride of Crown Prince Hirohito (the Emperor who had
    reined the Pacific War) the father of the current Emperor Akihito. But Princess Masako was believed to be sterile and her cousin sister Kuninomiya Nagako (久邇宮良子) was chosen for the place of future Japanese Empress and Masako ( 方子) was arranged to marry the Crown Prince Yi Eun (英親王李垠) from Korea.
    Prince Lee was born on December 29, 1931 as the second son of Crown Prince Yi Eun, 영친왕, or the grandson of the Emperor Kojong (고종황제), the 26th Emperor of Choseon dynasty (대한제국이씨조선). The first son, Jin (晉), was known to be poisoned to death when the baby was 10 months old when the mother and the baby were visiting a palace in Seoul, Korea.
    Prince Lee attended Gagushuin (学習院) Schools in Tokyo which are for the educational institutes of the children of the Japanese Imperial House and highly placed echelons in the Japanese society. After the World War II was over the Lee family was relieved from the Japanese Imperial House and practically lost nationality as the then Korean President Syngman Rhee rejected the Lee family’s returning to Korea, the reason being that Yi Eun, Prince Lee’s father, was a Japanese army general during the war. With the help of a Korean-Japanese business man, he was known to be admitted to Center College at Danville City, Kentucky, when he was 18 years old. Then he went to Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston.
    Being as an architecture student his main theme of research was “Floating vessel structure,” which is to build an airport, hotel or other facilities on a pontoon like floating vessel. Besides he has also written a thesis on the operation of J. C. Penny Company, Inc., an American department store chain.
    Here is an episode which tells you how Japanese people so highly respect the members of their Imperial House. I was sitting on the ondol floor of Nakseonjae with Lady Bang-ja or Crown Princess Euimin of Korea, for discussions on the real estate and tax issues of her Myeonghwi-won, an asylum for deaf-and-dumb persons and Jahye School. The housemaid informed us that there is a Japanese gentleman would like to present to Lady Bang-ja. He opened a Korean paper door with his two knees on the floor and entered in the room. He almost crawled on his four in order to advance in front of Lady Bang-ja, reminding me of a samurai making an audience to his lord, and announced his name and said he was the new Japanese Ambassador to Korea. After the exchange of salutations, he said he came directly from Gimpo airport. I’ve exchanged bows with the Ambassador following the Japanese court etiquette, and years later I met him at a dinner party in Seoul.
    3) Julia Mullock
    A Chinese design office I. M. PEI agency in New York City hired architect Kyu Lee where he met Julia Mullock who was an interior designer. Lady Mullock, 7 years older than architect Lee, later recalled her marriage; “We got married at a Ukrainian Catholic Church on East 7th Street in New York City on October 25, 1958. We didn’t have many guests. Kyu was humorous and energetic. He always smiled… His life would have been very different if he hadn’t come back to Korea. I don’t have any regrets, though.” “The happiest time of my life was when I stayed at Nakseonjae in Changdeok palace, Seoul with Kyu Lee in 1963,” she said. (Her right arm has been paralyzed for a decade and her finger joints are heavily deformed in her later years)
    She has avoided any interviews after Kyu Lee died in July 2005. She said in her interview with Chosun-Ilbo in August 2006 that “I was never his legal wife because my name wasn’t registered in his family register. This gave me trouble when I needed a divorce document in the U.S. I don’t know why I’m not registered. When I got divorced from him in 1982, I learned that I wasn’t in his family register. Maybe the clan council, who didn’t like me, was one reason. We separated in 1974 and since then he didn’t contact me, and there was no financial support to me.”
    Prince Lee and Julia took care of a girl since 1965 and adopted her in 1969. Her name was Eun-sook (47 years old in 2006) who lives in Hawaii. I met the girl when she came to our office in Hannam-dong a couple of times.
    When asked if Julia would feel bitter about Kyu Lee, she said “Do I need to? It was my destiny determined by God. Kyu would have had a very different life if he continued to live in the United States. For a schoolboy, a graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, being a member of the royal family of a ruined dynasty, was such a heavy burden. If I got worried, he would say “You don’t even have to know.” “Life in Korea exhausted him,” Julia said.
    She continues; “There are various types of love. Physical love, love that is sympathetic by nature… but I can’t tell you what kind of love I felt toward him exactly. When I die, I want to be cremated and have my ashes scattered in Nakseonjae in Changdeok palace. 樂善齋, 昌德宮. It was my happy home, she remembered.
    Ham, my wife, and I’ve met Julia, after she had separated from Prince Lee, at a small vender’s corner in the mall at Plaza Hotel. She was sitting surrounded by her collections of Korean fork arts, mostly Chilbo 七寶, cloisonné for sale. Ham bought a necklace. Julia, while no one helped her financially, had later relocated her shop into Hyatt Hotel. It was an apathetic scene and I thought Mr. Lee deserves to be being accused of abandoning an American woman he had brought from New York City as his wife to Seoul in this way.
    Earlier, in late 1968, Julia often visited Trans-Asia’s office and sat on a draftsmen’s stool exposing her two big and long thighs as she was wearing a pair of short pants, then called hot pants, not yet in fashion in Seoul. She didn’t wear make-up. I thought for a moment that being the wife of the last Prince of Korea she ought to wear a decent cloth in the Korean public.
    Otherwise, Julia was a fine lady, kind to the architects/engineers and draftsmen in the office and soft speaking and we all liked her. She was taller and heavier than her husband who was about 165cm tall, I felt some unexplainable incompatibilities between the American wife and the Korean husband.
    4) Prince Lee was always busy
    Being the Governor of the Jeonju Lee Clan and holding a position as a Vice President of Trans-Asia Engineers, Prince Lee was very busy every day. And also being a member of Kikuei shinboku kai (菊營親睦会) a fraternal society consists of current or former royal bloods of the Japanese Imperial House, Prince Lee attended the meetings and met with the Emperor Akihito and other Gakushuin alumni in Tokyo. So that many of the Japanese investors in Korea sought Prince Lee’s lead into the potential Korean business market. Some of the Japanese invested projects I’ve attended with Prince include;
    The feasibility studies of Kyobo building, Lotte Hotel (the old Bando Hotel), Tokyu hotel (now office building), Hilton Hotel, etc. Being a member of Seoul City Planning Board, he had been involved in some city-planned projects for which I had to attend with him so that he would understand the discussions made in Korean. Saemunan church (새문안교회) in Gwangwhamun, Seoul, which has been demolished in order to provide a new space for new church construction in 2014, was basically designed by Prince Lee. The Lutheran Church in Huam-dong was his design too, and among others. He had, with me, also participated in the master planning of Gyeongju Tourist Complex and partially involved in the master planning of Jungmun Tourist Complex in Jeju island.
    5) Unstable financial status
    Although he had been so busy, being employed as Vice President of Trans-Asia Engineers, a Nevada Corporation, he was a salaried man and unable to cumulate his own wealth, or I felt it more like that he was ignorant about money. So that I must be very careful paying attention to the financial and tax matters than my job of architect/engineering in running the Trans-Asia Korea operation. After attending consultancy meetings which sometimes had taken a few days of our time, I often asked Prince Lee that I want to send invoices to the potential investors for his and my time. Every attorney does that, I insisted. His answer was always reluctant to ask for money and said, “Well, let’s wait, Mr. Nam.” I realized that being educated in Gakushuin schools where, I assumed economics or financial studies wasn’t important subject and he may not have a chance to learn about the Karl Max’s theories of society, economics in Das Kapital or The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. He was always shy of money. One day he asked me to join in his private investment in founding an aero photographic company being invested by a Japanese investor. I was too busy to involve in his private business but later found that it was then impossible to take photographs from the air as there were so many restricted areas around the military bases and airports in Korea at the time.
    Again in 1977, Prince Lee asked me to go to Teheran, Iran, with him when the country was still under the monarchy of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi to open up an architectural/engineering design office of Trans-Asia Engineers. As Vice President and General Manager of Trans-Asia operations in Korea, I declined his offer. I was too busy to run the Seoul office which was consisted of TAE (Trans-Asia Engineers, TAK for Trans-Asia Korea, Trans-Asia/Hood, a Joint Venture, and an interior construction company named Sangwoo, to just help him open up a new office leaving all those pending jobs behind. And actually, I didn’t think it would be financially profitable under Prince Lee who didn’t know how to “count money,” I’ve often jokingly quoted him.
    Prince Lee returned to Trans-Asia with empty handed or after wasting a large sum of the company fund (as I was told) as Shah Pahlavi was forced into exile by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. Earlier, Prince Lee had to leave Trans-Asia Engineers probably assuming the responsibility in failing open up a branch office of Trans-Asia Engineers in Iran. The American owners of Trans-Asia might have thought that the last Prince of the Korean royal family would make a good friend with the royal family of Shah of Iran, but they had over looked that Prince Lee was not a businessman or salesman for architectural/engineering services. The head office of TAE was then located in Manila, the Philippines.
    (Note: Shah Reza Pahlavi of the Imperial State of Iran was in Pearl Harbor in an American passenger airplane Pan Am on his way back to Teheran from his visit to Washington when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. I’ll give you a more detailed story about Pahlavi’s reaction to the Japan’s surprise attack he had observed with his own eyes in Hawaii, later at a proper time)
    6) Prince Lee’s secret love affair
    Like many other married men would have, the Prince himself too had a secrete private life completely hidden from me and the employees of Trans-Asia Engineers. After Prince Lee’s death, a Korean woman’s adopted son revealed her mother’s love affair with Prince Lee, this news according to undated JoongAng Daily. Her name was Yu Wi-jin who was the director of Jean Art Gallery. In early 1970 Prince Lee and Miss Yu met at a culture related meeting by chance, and they fell in love and exchanged numerous love letters but their ten years of secret love affairs were broken when Prince Lee returned to Japan on some financial problems. Prince Lee and his wife Julia Mullock was separated in 1974 and they officially divorced in 1982, which make Prince Lee and Yu Wi-jin relationship an extramarital affair. Prince Lee was cheating his wife, Julia Mullock.
    One day in 1979, Lady Bangja, Prince’s mother, called her son and asked him to go to Tokyo to solve some financial problem of Prince Lee, and he left Seoul. Slowly the two lovers lost contact. Then Yu heard a rumor that Prince Lee is staying with a Japanese fortune teller woman in Tokyo. Yu went to Tokyo but she failed to find him. “Jin sama, (様さま Madam or Mister or Esq.) I love you. You’ll never imagine how much I miss you, even more than you miss me. Let’s endure a bit more,” wrote Prince Lee from Japan to his mistress in Seoul, in the meantime.
    Yu Min-jeong, the adopted son of Yu Wi-Jin, the woman Prince Lee loved, revealed the above long hidden secrete love story after his mother died, according to undated JoongAng Daily.
    7) Attachment to “Floating deck”
    When local magazines started to gossiping about Prince Lee’s separation and divorce from Julia Mullock, the illicit love affairs with a Japanese fortune teller and financial difficulties, Prince Lee came to Seoul from Tokyo and stayed at Ambassador Hotel, the expenses being paid by the Jeonju Lee Clan Office, according to media report (It’s when Mr. John Nowell met him and talked about the “floating airport” thing).
    I called him at the hotel and just conveyed my greeting. He mentioned again about potential investment in his “floating vessel” to build hotel on it somewhere in Busan harbor and asked me to help him find investor. It was not the first time I’ve heard of the floating pontoon from Prince Lee. I didn’t answer to his persistence in his floating vessel but said good bye and hung up the phone feeling sorry that my good old royal friend is getting old though he was only two years senior to me. It was sometime in the year 2000. That was the last live conversation I’ve had with Prince architect Lee or Mr. Yi Gu since I’ve first met him in October 1968 at the Building 1510, Main Post, Yongsan Garrison. That was upon my return from my three years of Saigon assignment at Trans-Asia Engineer’s Vietnam project.
    I was in Old Tappan, New Jersey, to look after my two grandsons’ schooling when I heard the demise of Prince Lee in July 2005. Prince Lee was 74 years old. I attended his funeral service held in Changdeuk palace in Seoul. It was a hot and humid summer day of Seoul and I looked around to see if I can find that fat Madam who had almost threatened me once that her daughter had Prince Lee’s offspring in her belly. Neither the Madam nor her daughter holding hand of a baby were found.
    There was a long white cloth placard written in black brush paint hung by the alter where Prince Kyu Lee’s large portrait was set. It read:
    Expressing our respectful condolences to the late honorable Yi Gu, Vice President of Trans-Asia Engineering Associates, Inc.
    May your noble soul rest in peace!
    P. S. Some of the quoted articles from local media have not been confirmed by the writer.
    By Nam Sang-so, 南相昭, one of the longtime architect/engineer friends of Prince Lee, July 9, 2017, Seoul.
  • Coco Cugat posted an update in the group Group logo of The last prince of KoreaThe last prince of Korea 7 months ago

    Note from Architect Nam Sang So @sangsonam :
    Architect Kyu Lee (Prince Lee) making a speech in English at the Ground Breaking
    Ceremony for the construction of the German Ambassador’s Residence, Seongbuk-dong,
    Seoul. Nam Sang-so is translating Prince’s speech into Korean. It was May 5, 1975.
    The new residence was designed by Trans-Asia Engineering.
  • John @janowell you made me very curious about this project.. Mr.Nam @sangsonam any idea about it?

  • I met Yi, Gu in the late 70s or early 80s on a tour of Changduk Palace arranged by the Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch. Yi, Gu was the volunteer tour guide for the RAS and diligently described the various buildings within the palace and the intricate designs employed by the craftsmen who built them. During the tour, he stopped by Naksonjae where his mother was living within the palace grounds and our group was fortunate to meet her. She was very nice to our group and meeting her was the highlight of the tour. I had occasion to meet Yi, Gu several times thereafter at many events. We were not close friends, but one day in 2004 he called me on the phone and asked if I would available to come to the Ambassador Hotel where he was staying as he wanted to speak to me and get my opinion about a project he was developing. I said that I would be happy to meet with him. We met in the coffee shop at the Ambassador Hotel and he proceeded to show me an elaborate architectural drawing of a floating International Airport he wanted to build in Tokyo Harbor. He said that with all the pollution created by the numerous jet aircraft at the national and international airports he believed that having an airport in Tokyo Harbor far away from the land would be a significant improvement for Japan. It was a fantastic plan and I told him that it was a superior idea. He thought that I might know of some construction company or financier who would be interested in pursuing this project. I told him that off hand I did not know of anyone that I could introduce him to, but that I would make some inquiries. However, I was never able to find someone to refer him to and I learned later that he had passed away. I always wondered where his architectural drawings were and whether any progress was made regarding his dream project. If Mr. Nam, Sang So is aware of this project, I wonder if he could shed some light on this project. It would be of interest to the readers on this site.
    • The last Prince of Korea had no descendant and…
      (By Nam Sang-so, Seoul, February 19, 2017)
      Introduction:
      In the Building 1510 in the Main Post, Yongsan Garrison, (and later in another office in Hannam-dong) the late architect Kyu Lee had his own office and a female private secretary. My drafting board was located in the adjoining office.
      His mother, Her Royal Highness Masako (or Yi Bangja in Korean, or Nashimoto-no-miya Masako in Japanese) Crown Princess Euimin of Korea was the Consort of Crown Prince Euimin. She and her husband would have been the Emperor and Empress of the Empire of Korea if Korea had not been annexed to the Empire of Japan in 1910. His father Crown Prince Uimin was a Lieutenant General of the Imperial Japanese Army until the end of the World War II. Architect Kyu Lee had attended Gakushuin, a Japanese educational institution for the children of Japan’s nobilities. The current Emperor Akihito had attended when Prince Lee was with the school.
      For the Architect Lee’s close family connection with the Japanese royal families, he had to visit Tokyo quite often, and I had to look after his pending tasks in his absence. And when I attended meetings on behalf of him at the Headquarters of the 8th U.S. Army in Garrison Yongsan, young Lieutenants courteously addressed me as “Prince Lee” by mistake. We had about the same builds and I looked more like Japanese than Korean, so I’ve been told (I was born and bred in Japan).
      And my job in his absence included to look after his romantic affair actually or falsely involved with a beautiful Korean woman who was said to be chasing after the last Prince of Korea who had no children (dubiously to have the true blood line of royal descendant). (The original text of this story by the same author was published by The Korea Times in June 2012)

      A fiftyish, plump lady beautifully dressed in Korean traditional dress holding a black alligator leather pouch stepped into my atelier with a whiff of perfume while I was busy on the drawing board.
      “Please pardon my intrusion but I would very much like to talk to you,” she announced with a forced smile. Thinking that she might be a potential client, I introduced myself and guided her to an easy chair. “How may I help you, madam?”
      “Actually, I came to see Prince Yi Gu. Your secretary says Jeonha (Royal Highness) is out of the country, and you can speak for him.” Yi Gu in Korean, Kyu Lee in English, was a claimant to the throne of Korea and if Korea were still a monarchy, his title would have been “His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince of Korea.”
      “I have a beautiful daughter…” she mumbled. “My daughter loves Prince Yi…”
      Well, it wasn’t architectural business and Prince Lee was married to Julia Mullock, a citizen of the United States. He was handsome but I didn’t think he was all that attractive.
      After a long pause and some wiggling, “… she is pregnant,” the alligator madam expelled as if I was responsible. What she wanted to declare was; “My daughter is carrying a child who would be the last Prince (or Princess) of Joseon Dynasty, or great-grand child of King Gojong.”
      Prince Yi Gu had no child with his wife Julia Lee, or anyone else. I knew as I had worked with him side by side over 10 years. I was tempted to ask the details about how they met and what month her pregnancy was in, if the Prince was responsible. But decided to hear the Prince’s word before I could do anything to help, whoever needed help.
      About a year before this perfumed encounter, five elders of the Lee Family Clan Council of Korea had visited my office, not the Prince’s. they knew the Prince and I attend Korean dinner parties sitting on the floor served by beautiful girls.
      To make a long story short, they wanted to have at least one baby boy, hopefully two, though they would accept a girl, by Prince Yi before too late. They said they gave up the last hope of producing Korea’s monarchy blood by Mrs. Julia Lee, who was, the clan elders decided, sterile.
      The royalist Lee clan elders were desperate that “The last choice available now was that the royal descendant should come from out of wedlock and with a fine, healthy Korean woman,” they whispered to me in unison. The elders pleaded me to help them to keep the time-honored tradition of Joseon Dynasty.
      Here, I must apologize that my respect and confidence in the late Architect Lee prevents me to divulge the details of the Confucianism elders’ suggestion and my conversation with the Prince about the elders’ plot. Prince Lee was personable but having had no experience carrying around a wallet, he wasn’t good at counting money nor knew how to get friendly with women.
      Prince Yi Gu died on July 16, 2005, he was 74. I flew from New Jersey to attend his funeral service held at Nakseonjae Palace in Seoul and found neither sobbing beautiful woman nor a resembling child among the family condolers. The alligator madam wasn’t there either.
      I noticed, on the other hand, those five elders wearing the centuries-old traditional mourning attire busying with the service. They looked very sorrowful for missing the last chance to continue their dynasty clan, and I felt sorry for the ardent admirers of “His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince of Korea.” (End)

      • I met Yi, Gu in the late 70s or early 80s on a tour of Changduk Palace arranged by the Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch. Yi, Gu was the volunteer tour guide for the RAS and diligently described the various buildings within the palace and the intricate designs employed by the craftsmen who built them. During the tour, he stopped by Naksonjae where his mother was living within the palace grounds and our group was fortunate to meet her. She was very nice to our group and meeting her was the highlight of the tour. I had occasion to meet Yi, Gu several times thereafter at many events. We were not close friends, but one day in 2004 he called me on the phone and asked if I would available to come to the Ambassador Hotel where he was staying as he wanted to speak to me and get my opinion about a project he was developing. I said that I would be happy to meet with him. We met in the coffee shop at the Ambassador Hotel and he proceeded to show me an elaborate architectural drawing of a floating International Airport he wanted to build in Tokyo Harbor. He said that with all the pollution created by the numerous jet aircraft at the national and international airports he believed that having an airport in Tokyo Harbor far away from the land would be a significant improvement for Japan. It was a fantastic plan and I told him that it was a superior idea. He thought that I might know of some construction company or financier who would be interested in pursuing this project. I told him that off hand I did not know of anyone that I could introduce him to, but that I would make some inquiries. However, I was never able to find someone to refer him to and I learned later that he had passed away. I always wondered where his architectural drawings were and whether any progress was made regarding his dream project. If Mr. Nam, Sang So is aware of this project, I wonder if he could shed some light on this project. It would be of interest to the readers on this site.

      • John @janowell you made me very curious about this project.. Mr.Nam @sangsonam any idea about it?

    • Coco Cugat posted an update in the group Group logo of The last prince of KoreaThe last prince of Korea 11 months ago

      Architect Kyu Lee (Prince Lee) making a speech in English at the Ground Breaking Ceremony for the construction of the German Ambassador’s Residence, Seongbuk-dong, Seoul. Mr. Nam Sang-so is translating Prince’s speech into Korean. It was May 5, 1975. The new residence was designed by Trans-Asia Engineering.

      Photo and note from Mr. Nam Sang-so

    • Coco Cugat posted an update in the group Group logo of The last prince of KoreaThe last prince of Korea 11 months ago

      A post card sent from La Catherale CHARTRES, France, by Prince Lee while having a holiday, to Nam Sang-so in September 1970.
      Architect Lee wanted to know if everything in the design offices, Seoul, is under control.

      Photo and postcard from Mr. Nam Sang-so

    • Around 1962, another two young men visited TAE to discuss about the construction projects issued by the Corps of Engineer. Their name cards said Y. O. Park and Y. M. Park and they were also brothers representing Doosan Construction Co., Ltd. OB Brewery, and Kodak-Korea. They told me in an accented English that they had just finished their studies at New York University. Together with other engineers of TAE I asked “Can you speak for your father?” “Of course,” they said. The agenda was quality control over various construction projects Doosan had contracted with the FED. Many years have passed since then, and the two Park brothers now each hold Chairmanship positions with Doosan Group.
      In 1963 a new architect from New York joined TAE. He called himself Kyu Lee, and we addressed him Prince Lee while Japanese called him Royal Highness. After graduating from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), architect Lee first joined I. M. Pei & Associates in New York where he met Julia Mullock, a Ukrainian-American born in Pennsylvania. They were married shortly afterwards.
      With appropriately furnished drafting offices, well equipped material testing laboratory in the Building 1510, experienced American architects, engineers and many U.S. educated designers, Trans-Asia was ready to challenge the virgin land of architectural and engineering design and construction quality control in Korea. It went so well that TAE had later established associated ventures Trans-Asia/Hood Inc. for the Repair and Utilities services of U.S. Military Installations and Trans-Asia Korea, Ltd. (TAK) for civilian design and consultancy services in Korea. I was promoted to General Manager/Vice President of the Korea operations after serving TAE’s Saigon Offices for three years.
      In the 40 years of TAE’s existence in Korea, the engineering firm hired over 300 Korean architects and engineers who have learned and experienced to design of various building and civil engineering projects for the U.S. Military facilities as well as Korean infrastructures and had acquired the knowledge of the U.S. Standards that had been applied on the quality controls for these construction projects. They have learned how to read technical specifications and write design analyses and draw the blueprints in English, and the differences between the International System of Units (meter-kilogram-second) and the customary U.S system of weights and measures (inch-feet-pound).
      A large number of architectural/engineering services have been performed by TAE/TAK for the U.S. Military facilities in Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Guam, and South Vietnam. The engineering for the first suspension bridge built for Geojae Island over the South Sea of Korea was introduced by TAE in association with Amman Whitney, a U.S. structural engineering services firm that had designed the Golden Gate Bridge, Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, George Washington Bridge, etc. TAE also designed the initial Seoul-Gangneung highway, the sluice gate and the port facilities of Incheon Harbor, and the route and land measurement surveys and design of the Pohang-Seoul fuel pipeline in association with Bechtel Corporation of America. The water supply system for the Joint Security Area in the DMZ Korea was one of the minor civil engineering services rendered by TAE.

      By Mr. Nam Sang-so sangsonam@gmail.com

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