ARC 605- Ecological Practices- Jin Young Song

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'IN' the Green

Many argue that the practice of ‘Green’ (green wall, living wall, green roof, vertical farming, urban agriculture, etc) is a tool in response to the environmental crisis and social inequality. Sustainable planting integration can provide erosion/stormwater control and protect natural habitats. Decorative green walls can improve the indoor air quality with occupants’ comfort and green roof can provide improved energy performance with heat island reduction. All can boost LEED scores. On the other hand, vertical farming in an urban context uses less land with minimized transportation to consumers, providing healthy food and jobs to the city. The smaller scale DIY window farm also promises a bottom-up style food production. However, these practices are not intersecting with the discipline of ‘space’. They are often 2-dimensional addition or irrelevant machines located in a building. Our ecological experience of ‘Green’ is more complex and multifaceted. The products-based Green solutions are diminishing the complex and intellectual work of sustainable architecture. Therefore, the course aims to re-check if the ‘Green’ can be a meaningful element in the architectural discipline in order to integrate the ecological experience into the fundamental language of architecture. In other words, we are searching for a novel relationship between Green and architecture. As a framework of this investigation, the course will explore three main conceptual terms to interrogate the unexplored function of Green:


The building facade is defined by the front of a building, implying the relationship between a street and a building. This face of a building, which constitutes a street facade, is a fundamentally ambivalent and transitional space that operates as a threshold between inside and outside. It produces a perception of either invitation or authority, linkage or barrier. Many modern developments from the twentieth century to the present based on economic considerations present mere thin layers only to divide inside and outside. The thin layer represents the dramatic commercialization of the architectural practice. Therefore, how does the ‘Green’ play a role in the function of threshold?

(Reading: Moussavi, Farshid, and Michael Kubo, eds. The function of ornament. Barcelona: Actar, 2006.)


The life span of buildings determines the fundamental environmental impact. Architects should not only build knowledge on the reuse, modification, restoration, remodeling, and repurposing but also consider more responsive architectural concepts toward dynamic play of time. On top of the human’s response to time, the green always presents a different atmosphere to space over time. There is species-specific information per local region and climate. Technology can advance this relationship. Dynamic mechanical systems with advanced sensing can innovate how we use Green in space. 

(Reading: Kwinter, Sanford. Ch. 1, “The Complex and the Singular”, in Architectures of time: toward a theory of the event in modernist culture. MIT press, 2002.)


The consideration of Time according to Kwinter also introduces the concept of modular principles, which are observed in biological forms in nature. They are built over time with highly intelligent interaction between time and force, producing a tessellation of organic modular principles rather than mechanical repetitions. This is the efficiency we would like to pursue in consideration of the function of Green. 

(Reading: Waddington, C. H. "The modular principle and biological form." Module, Proportion, Symmetry, Rhythm. Vision and Value series. George Braziller, New York (1966): 20-35.

Cyril Stanley Smith, "Structure, Substructure, Superstructure", in Gyorgy Kepes, ed., Structure in Art and Science (New York: George Braziller, 1965).

Programs are to be determined:

  1. Repurposing old apartment towers.
  2. Library design competition.
  3. Abandoned shopping mall renovation.
  4. Elementary school re-design.


  • Comprehensive understanding of ‘Green’ as an architectural element. (literature reviews and case study focused on technology and construction details of Green Wall and Urban Farming)
  • Re-visiting ‘Green’ as a spatial device integrative to the overall architectural design. (entry sequence, alternative facade system)
  • Exploring ‘dynamic’ or ‘reconfigurable’ feature ‘IN’ the green interface.
  • Advanced architectural production focused on the research topic.


  • Radical and original research focus on ‘Green’ with the high-quality spatial application.
  • Programs will be explored: housing complex, office, library, community center, urban farming prototype. 
  • Visual presentation using real-time rendering tools (Lumion, Enscape, etc) for more accurate planting expression. (Lands Design Rhino plugin)
  • A comprehensive Design Development level architectural set: Plans, Site plan, Sections, Elevations, Axons, etc.
  • ¼” -⅛” scale wall section presenting the critical detail with the suggested ‘Green’ Prototype.
  • Physical models with minimum two scales: (1/16”- 1/32” scale architectural model AND ½” - ⅛” scale section model)