2021-22 Banham Fellow Young-Tack Oh to explore the hidden and often-overlooked forces of Buffalo's urban fabric

Published September 8, 2021

We're pleased to welcome architectural designer and researcher Young-Tack Oh as our 2021-22 Peter Reyner Banham Fellow. A  founding member of the creative collective Archipleasure, he pursues speculative research on the marginal and overlooked occurrences in contemporary urbanism.

Portrait of Young Tack-Oh.

Architectural designer Young-Tack Oh will explore the forgotten and often-overlooked dimensions of Buffalo's urban fabric as the 2021-22 Peter Reyner Banham Fellow.

As this year's Banham Fellow, which supports emerging practitioners, Oh will employ anthropological fieldwork methods to compile an archive of some of the overlooked, neglected, or forgotten forces comprising the fabric of Buffalo.

Oh says his research is inspired by two concepts— Modernologio, a form of urban ethnography as set forth by Kon Wajirō and the infraordinary which Georges Perec defines as everyday occurrences, "the banal, the quotidian, the obvious, the common, the ordinary...the habitual." 

"These seemingly inconsequential things in fact form the basis of major movements and systems from whicih subversive and more playful interventions are generated," he says. 

Through Archipleasure, Oh advances broader research on contemporary urbanism by collaborating with individuals in varying disciplines to seek renewed interpretations of architecture that cast more inclusive ambitions and exuberant prospects for the built environment. "The fundamental hope for the work is that it brings joy and pleasure to the masses," he says.

Oh received his BA from Washington University in St. Louis and his MArch from the University of Michigan. He was the Michigan Mellon Fellow in Egalitarianism and the Metropolis at Taubman College from 2018-2021. He has taught at the University of Michigan and has also led ArcPrep, a program that introduces Detroit Public School students to architecture, urbanism, and design-related fields. The program aims to empower the next generation of Detroit leaders by offering rigorous design education in a studio environment, directly engaging students with inspiring artists and creative practitioners, and offering pathways to post-secondary education in professions related to the built environment.

The School of Architecture and Planning’s Peter Reyner Banham Fellowship supports the research of emerging practitioners in honor of the legacy of Peter Reyner Banham, who taught at UB from 1976-80 and produced a foundational body of scholarship on material/visual culture as a reflection of contemporary social life. Banham was famous for his hands-on approach to historical research and engagement both in and out of the classroom, a legacy Kutil will now continue through her research in Buffalo.