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Jin Young Song's award-winning design takes “smart home” concept to new robotic heights

“Connected Living," Jin Young Song's winning design of interconnected towers with robotic, self-building intelligence, is on display in the SeMA (Seoul Museum of Art) through November 12, 2017, alongside the competition’s other top finishers.

By Brenna Zanghi

Release Date October 16, 2017

Imagine an apartment tower that expands – and downsizes – to respond to our rapidly changing lifestyles. This off-the-charts smart building design has won UB architecture professor Jin Young Song first place in an international competition to consider design in the “self-evolving city.”

Song, an assistant professor of architecture at UB, conceived of “Connected Living” based on his research on 60’s Metabolism and emerging prefabrication and robotics in manufacturing. The proposal presents a series of interconnected towers that self-construct and de-construct through embedded robots that respond to their environment. The robots are integrated to the building façade to modify, add and remove prefabricated units when necessary, maximizing flexibility and supporting sustainable residential culture.

The prebuilt units are visible in the design prototype, with railways running over the tree line below. The intelligent robots maneuver around the tower facade in order to serve people’s changing lifestyles.

The Self-Evolving City Competition, organized by International Union of Architects (UIA) of Seoul 2017, focused on themes of urban transition and designs for a changing world, similar to how a brain adapts to a changing environment. Using “schemes, cognitive maps, and a model of mental states to represent the self,” designers from around the world were asked to conceive designs that can assess and adapt to performative and environmental conditions.

Gunsoo Shin, an architectural critic reviewed the project in his published article, “Individual architecture of the aesthetic dimension disappears, and what remains is urban residence of the ethical dimension. The necessity-based expansion and contraction of residential units happens midair, so that the discriminative hierarchy of the land, where value is created by money, disappears.”

"Connected Living" in its urban context.

Song’s concept for “Metabolic Evolution through Prefabrication and Artificial Intelligence” was developed into unique exhibition experience for public engagement with the help of research students from UB and Song’s firm, Dioinno Architecture. At the museum, people can fold papers, punch windows to participate in the making of the future apartments.

Last year, Jin Young Song also saw success in the Laka Competition when his project “Snapping Façade,” built with the assistance of Jongmin Shim, UB assistant professor of civil, structural, and environmental engineering professor, took first place.

“Connected Living” will be on display in the SeMA (Seoul Museum of Art) through November 12, 2017, alongside the competition’s other top finishers.

Design Team:
Jin Young Song (Principal Designer), Hashim Ajlouni (MArch ‘16), William Baptiste (MArch ‘18), Ning Ding (Architecture BS ’18), Tino Goo (MArch ‘16), Euychan Jung (MArch ‘18), Laeyeon Kim (exchange student to UB), Seungjun Lee (BAED ‘19), David Hakcheol Seo (BS ’18), Daniel Vrana (MArch ‘16), and Bonghwan Kim, PE (Skidmore Owings and Merrills LLP, Structure Consultant)

The exhibition is open for audiences to make their own apartment units using provided papers. The photo above represents "Connected Living" after three days of audience participation.