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Summer Scholarship Project: Designing and Building a Multipurpose Micro-farm Structure as a Pedagogical Strategy for Architectural Engineering Technology Students

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Architectural Engineering Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Divisions

Architectural Engineering and Construction 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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Constructing a full-scale mock-up is commonly used in the architectural industry and it is invaluable to the design outcome, providing feedback on the appearance, scale, material, and constructability. This process can also be adopted as a teaching strategy in a classroom, as a hands-on learning experience increases student engagement and information retention. This work-in-progress paper describes a summer scholarship project, led by the author and students from the Architectural Engineering Technology program who designed and built a micro-farm structure that doubles as outdoor furniture. The primary purpose of this project is to evaluate the feasibility of micro-farm structure as a new pedagogical strategy in the architectural courses, to simulate a course that employs experiential learning, to set a precedent as a scalable model for other institutions to replicate, and to share the lessons learned from the process. The participating students began the research with the site analysis and precedent study while interacting with the regional food bank to incorporate community outreach as part of their design strategy and to catalyze conversation around sustainability and food systems. This interaction provided a broader perspective on the architect-client relationship and the value of the iterative design process. The design inspiration was a culmination of the visits to multiple precedent sites that exhibited sound conceptual ideas, and this experience facilitated the students to visualize the details, components, fabrication, sequencing, and assembly of a full-scale structure. Through sketching, drafting, and modeling, students were able to learn the methods of idea generation, conceptualization, mode of representation, overall design, and delivery process. The author and the students learned from their mistakes which presented a wide range of challenges during the construction process and changed the course of this research. The updated research structure highlighted the importance of the architect-contractor relationship, key information in construction documents, and communication with the construction team. The interview was conducted with the participants which provided valuable feedback regarding project-based learning and it helped to refine lesson strategy for a course integration in the future.

Kwak, E. (2020, June), Summer Scholarship Project: Designing and Building a Multipurpose Micro-farm Structure as a Pedagogical Strategy for Architectural Engineering Technology Students Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35254

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