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Developing a Framework for a New Technical Elective: Prototyping Multi-functional Urban Micro-farms as an Experiential Learning Strategy for Architecture and Construction Management Students

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Architectural Division Technical Session

Tagged Division

Architectural Engineering

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Paper Authors


Eugene Kwak Farmingdale State College, State University of New York

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Eugene Kwak is a licensed architect and an assistant professor in the Department of Architecture and Construction Management at Farmingdale State College, State University of New York. He has been running research and grant-based projects, including the George Washington Carver Community garden design in New Iberia, Louisiana. During his tenure in the private sector, he focused on technology-based green and sustainable work including the New Housing New York Legacy Project. Eugene’s entry for the Intersection: Grand Concourse 100 and Reinventing Grand Army Plaza Competition was selected as one of the top 30 proposals to be included in a public exhibition. As a student at Columbia University, Eugene earned the Lucille Smyser Lowenfish Memorial Prize, which is given to the graduating student whose work is most outstanding. He has taught architectural design, urban design seminars, and various workshops at Parsons The New School, Pratt Institute, and New York Institute of Technology. Eugene received a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master of Science Degree in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University.

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From the effects of widespread monoculture to the aging population of career farmers, the agriculture industry today is facing myriad challenges. With land becoming more and more scarce, the farms today are plagued by a sheer lack of resources, capital and infrastructure required to distribute and preserve sustainable agriculture. And yet, there has never been more consumer demand for what they produce. The research is to examine effectiveness of urban farming through a multidisciplinary course, collaboration of Architectural Engineering Technology and Urban Horticulture department, that proposes to build series of small community gardens on the campus of Farmingdale State College which ultimately aims to educate students and raise awareness to the local community. The course will employ multiple experimental and participatory pedagogy to expand evolving discourse of sustainability with regards to food system, land-use, local agriculture, and consumer behavior. Participating students from both disciplines will form groups to formulate mapping strategy to determine circulatory pattern, density, program boundary, zoning and territory, food mileage, and distribution to determine categorized locations. An anthropometric design process will determine main parameter for material, dimensions, proportions, and morphological manifestation. The design will be generated through the use of collective digital and physical models, drawings, and rendered design output which will be evaluated by wide range of audiences on campus. The research encourages the participants to engage students on campus to gather feedback and responses using survey and interactive medium. The students in the class are asked to synthesize the engineering of micro farm. Therefore, the use of wide array of technology in water conservation with smart irrigation system, hydroponic system, monitoring, sensor system, and automation, will be highly integrated in the process. The construction material will be donated by the local construction material supplier and the assembly of the structure will be completed by the participating students with the instructional support managers. Also, the concept of Biophilic design will be adapted to gauge effectiveness of environmentally responsive design on human behavior. The series of multiple assessment method will include survey, demonstration, assignment response, psychological and biological expert analysis. The gathered information will become valuable database to exhibit the success and failure of the design, location, accessibility, function, program, link between nature, farming, and the participants.

Kwak, E. (2019, June), Developing a Framework for a New Technical Elective: Prototyping Multi-functional Urban Micro-farms as an Experiential Learning Strategy for Architecture and Construction Management Students Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32632

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