Fields of Research (FoR)Architecture, Architectural science and technology, Data visualisation and computational (incl. parametric and generative) design, Design practice and methods, Architectural design
I am an Associate Professor of Architecture and Computational Design in the School of Built Environment, Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture (ADA), UNSW Sydney. I am also an esteemed Scientia Academic at UNSW Sydney. After a five-year professional career in the architecture and construction industries (1998-2002), I have taught various digital design courses including Building Information Modelling (BIM), Documentation Technologies and 3D...view more
I am an Associate Professor of Architecture and Computational Design in the School of Built Environment, Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture (ADA), UNSW Sydney. I am also an esteemed Scientia Academic at UNSW Sydney. After a five-year professional career in the architecture and construction industries (1998-2002), I have taught various digital design courses including Building Information Modelling (BIM), Documentation Technologies and 3D Design Studio. I as a senior lecturer completed a five-year post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Newcastle (2012-2017) and I was a senior research fellow at the University of South Australia in 2018. Before becoming a visiting academic at Newcastle in 2011, I had held multiple research and teaching roles in South Korea (2003-2011). My research has used architectural computing and design cognition to examine and improve the creation of a range of building types, while my PhD study sought to craft and propose consensual strategic planning schemes for mixed-use development to support urban regeneration. I am co-author with Michael J. Ostwald of Grammatical and Syntactical Approaches in Architecture (IGI Global 2020) and co-author with Michael J. Ostwald and Ning Gu of Design Thinking: Creativity, Collaboration and Culture (Springer 2020)
I have been awarded eleven competitive research grants with a total value of over $11M in Australia and South Korea, including two ARC Discovery projects (DP220101598 and DP230100605). My research also includes national building technology projects such as BIM, context-aware smart home and a construction infrastructure technology program, working with multi-disciplinary industrial partners. I have sought to ensure designs for the built environment are coherent, clear and accessible.
I am a lead CI of DP230100605 - Architectural Design Across Spaces and Cultures: Technology and Language and a CI of DP220101598 - Assessing Architectural Aesthetic Character: An ‘Intelligent’ Approach, and leading an Australia-Korea Foundation grant of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (AKF202119 - Enhanced remote collaboration between Australian and Korean creative practitioners). I as CI am also participating in ARC training centre for next-gen architectural manufacturing.
- Architectural Design Across Spaces and Cultures: Technology and Language - ARC DISCOVERY PROJECT (2023-2026)
- Assessing Architectural Aesthetic Character: An ‘Intelligent’ Approach - ARC DISCOVERY PROJECT (2022-2026)
- ARC Training Centre for Next-Gen Architectural Manufacturing - ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centres (ITTC) (2023-2028)
- Enhanced remote collaboration between Australian and Korean creative practitioners - Australia-Korea Foundation (AKF) of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Grant (2022 - 2023)
In Newcastle, I had successfully completed two externally funded research projects, supported by an Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT), and another Australia-Korea Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), with many international/ national partners and reference groups. My recent cognitive research, Design and Language, has a significant impact on breaking down the barriers to achieving efficient and sustainable interactions between people in design teams, particularly those in the Asia–Pacific region.
My Research Activities
Architectural design and computing
I developed a Glenn Murcutt shape grammar in 2012 (as part of ARC DP1094154 – “Computational analysis of the 20th century architecture”), proposing a new mathematical approach to analysing and generating design instances within a specific language of architectural design. The final output was invited to present a fully funded, plenary talk at Cultural DNA Workshop 2017. I have further developed an innovative method that combines Shape Grammar and Space Syntax approaches to offer a rigorous way of understanding an architectural style and then producing variations of that style. The two approaches have only rarely been connected in the past. This research has provided a new critical knowledge base about architecture in terms of forms, styles and spatial configurations. In 2016, I undertook a strategic pilot grants project, “New computational tools for assessing spatial and social cognition in aged-care environments”, which syntactically examined Australian and Korean facilities as well as hypothetical designs reflecting ‘best practice’ in the industry. These grammatical and/or syntactical studies over the eight years have resulted in a co-authored book, presenting advances into two of the areas of research. From 2022, I have conducted an ARC DP, “Assessing Architectural Aesthetic Character: An ‘Intelligent’ Approach”.
Involved in strategic research on design computing and cognition in 2011, I developed a methodological framework for exploring parametric design processes. I also advanced protocol analysis techniques to analyse architectural design protocols. These works assisted in the development of HDR students’ formal methodologies and attracted a strong audience’ interest at international conferences such as Design Research Society (2012) and Design Computing and Cognition (2012) – invited to present in a plenary session. In late 2012, I started my own cognitive project, “Formal evaluation of creativity on parametric design”. I developed an innovative research framework, combining protocol analysis (process) and a consensual assessment technique (product), to investigate creativity in parametric design. Such a conceptual framework has not previously been available and is a catalyst for this research program on the language of design.
My strategic pilot project (2014) on multi-cultural design communication was the first study into the relationship spatial cognition and spatial language in the field of architectural design. This research has proposed a significant conceptual leap viewing design cognition from a linguistic perspective and was invited to be published in a special issue of International Journal of Architectural Computing.
Awarded an international relations grant from the DFAT in 2016, I organised two ‘Design and Language’ symposiums (2016 Seoul, 2017 Newcastle). I also initiated a cross-cultural network, ‘Australia–Korea design language group’, to develop educational, cultural and industrial links between Australia and South Korea. My OLT project (2016-18) have also developed pedagogical solutions to the linguistic and cultural barriers in design education. It developed 23 design protocols produced by Australian and Asian architectural students from four architecture schools in Australia. It also recorded and examined two sets of interviews, (1) focus-group interviews and (2) face-to-face interviews. Since this multi-focused research contributes to fundamental knowledge-building pertaining to how different cultures understand and communicate design, it was invited to deliver keynotes at (Co)Design events (2017). From 2023, I have led an ARC DP, “Architectural Design Across Spaces and Cultures: Technology and Language”.
My Research Supervision
Areas of supervision
- Architecture and Mathematics
- Design Cognition
- Computational Design
- Space Syntax and Shape Grammar
- Strategic Planning and Community Design
- Architectural Aesthetics and Visual Complexity
- A Cultural Sustainability Evaluation Model (CSEM) to Support Multi-cultural Communities in Sydney
- The Changing Socio-spatial Patterns and Implications on Public Housing and Its Neighbourhood: A Comparative Study of Sydney and Shanghai
- Utilizing Shape Grammar Tools for Residential Houses Layout Generation: Machine Learning and Optimization Approaches
Since joining UNSW I’ve been primarily teaching two courses, CODE2170 (undergraduate) and BENV7800 (postgraduate) focusing on design computing, building information management, BIM standards, and BIM in the AEC industry.
I was awarded an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA, 2020) which acknowledged my development of a well-defined teaching philosophy as well as reflective, supportive teaching practice. I have extensive teaching experience in architecture and computational design subjects at the university level in both South Korea and Australia.
- Since 2003, I have developed, coordinated, and taught a new curriculum, introducing practical, industry-engaged digital design techniques and state-of-the-art design strategies all while supporting culturally diverse student cohorts.
- I have initiated and implemented innovative teaching methods at UNSW, focusing on practical and diverse learning activities. Based on a combination of experiential learning and active learning strategies, I have also promoted students’ critical thinking processes in class as well as among peers.