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Heuristic reasoning through Community-Engaged Learning in the architectural design process (work-in-progress)

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Architectural Engineering Division Technical Session 2

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Paper Authors


Eugene Kwak State University of New York, College of Technology at Farmingdale

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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-based projects, including the most recent project “Togather” which has been featured in the New York Times and Dwell. “Togather” focuses on the regional food systems, land access, and empowering local farmers through providing affordable housing and long-term free land lease. 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. He is currently serving as a member of the American Farmland Trust New York Advisory Council. 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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Peter Rowe’s “A Priori Knowledge and Heuristic Reasoning in Architectural Design” emphasized the importance of heuristic reasoning through problem-solving in the architectural design process. In recent years, architectural designs are demanded to respond to issues beyond the architectural realm, aspiring to expand dialogue around social and environmental concerns. This need calls for design strategies that include multi-disciplinary and cross-sectional research processes. During the past spring semester, this author had an opportunity to employ heuristic reasoning in the architectural design process through mentoring students from two programs, Vassar College’s Community-Engaged Learning (CEL) and Farmingdale State College’s Research Aligned Mentorship (RAM). Although the programs are from separate institutions, they share the common goal of providing a learning experience that extends beyond the classroom setting. The participating students have diverse backgrounds, which allowed for a synergetic approach during the research process. Also, this credit-bearing program facilitated experiential learning through engaging stakeholders, non-profit organizations, research institutions, and government agencies. The students participated in a series of meetings with various experts, providing the students with a wider perspective. The student group identified their research focus around the influence of architectural design on social issues, particularly around regional food systems and urban food justice. This interest catalyzed the student group to materialize design ideas for a competition entry and poster presentation at SUNY Undergraduate Research Conference (SURC). The design manifestation included solutions for urban agriculture and community engagement. Furthermore, the research continued through the summer research program to expand the topic to include sustainability. This mentoring experience provided new academic content and approaches for the architectural design course, which aims to implement community engagement as a vehicle to create innovative design methods for the next generation of designers. This work-in-progress paper will evaluate the validity of community-engaged learning as pedagogical content in an architectural design course and will define learning outcomes, measures of assessment and continuous improvement, and evaluate social impact.

Kwak, E. (2022, August), Heuristic reasoning through Community-Engaged Learning in the architectural design process (work-in-progress) Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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