I've been a little behind on posting, but there's a good reason for that. I was extremely fortunate to be awarded a travel grant by the School of Architecture for research related to their final project. Here's a post by the school's mfp blog below.
I've spent the ten or so days since I've been awarded the grant working with my team to organize lodging, transport and interviews with people that can give us insight into our site and the culture of apartment dwelling in Korea. This process touches on a bigger issue that architects have had to deal with as the world flattens and our work takes us to parts of the world that we've never visited, and that issue is that of the global architectural practice. I've thought about this issue during different points of my career; while at Thornton Tomasetti working on exclusively international projects, in China this past summer working with students from Nanjing University on analyzing built projects in Minneapolis and Nanjing, and most recently as I've been working with Hwan and Sangyong on our thesis. In my [albeit limited] experience, I've always felt that projects that made an earnest attempt to understand the forces that a culture exert on a project end up with a lot more depth and sensitivity to them. However, I do think that there is value that the outsider can bring while designing projects for a new culture. I'm not exactly sure where the line is between designing within the rules of a culture and sensitively asserting your own values in an architecture project, but I'm sitting in the airport in Minneapolis on my way to Seoul (by way of Toronto and Vancouver) ready to make an earnest effort at just that.
I'm hoping to be updating this blog more frequently while I'm in Seoul. The primary purpose being to synthesize what I'm learning on a daily basis, with the added benefit of reassuring my family back home that I'm safe and still alive (Hi Mom!).
See you in Seoul!