Daekwon Park, assistant professor, School of Architecture, Syracuse University

Backstory: Park’s research focuses on designing innovations in the geometry and configuration of building materials at multiple scale levels—cellular materials, functionally graded materials, and adaptive materials—to improve the thermal or structural performance of building components or systems.

Projects: He is conducting early-stage research on three projects:

  • Adaptive thermal skin research developing dynamic building skins that can alternate between a thermal insulator and heat exchanger, based on thermal environment
  • Topo-joint research, integrating 3D-printed, nonconventional building materials for creating highly customized joints and connections for building applications
  • Architectured soil, exploring the design of 3D-structured soil-based materials for structural, hygrothermal, and acoustical performance of masonry blocks.

Nuts and Bolts: All three projects implement novel geometric strategies to existing building materials and components—plastic, brick, concrete, membrane, etc.—for augmenting targeted functions. For instance, the Adaptive Thermal Skin research aims to create a dynamic insulation using thin and lightweight membranes that change insulation values based on seasonal temperature differences and building orientation. This could dramatically reduce the heating or cooling load in buildings during transitional periods in spring and fall, when there are large temperature differences outdoors between daytime and night.

Why It Matters: Compared to the materials used in high-tech products or upmarket goods, building materials need to satisfy challenging economic and performance requirements that constrain the type of material or technology that can be used. “One promising approach for the field of architecture is to augment the performance of affordable and durable common building materials, such as concrete, brick, and wood, through geometric configuration—much like how spiders produce a variety of webs with different properties via geometric/compositional variations of the same web material— rather than investing in the costly development of new and unfamiliar materials,” says Park.

Expert Opinion: Park has extensive experience with large-scale sports and entertainment facility design around the world, including the United States, Australia, China, and South Korea, where he managed projects including the Ansan Baseball Dome, Gimpo Sports Town Master Plan, and the 2014 Incheon Asian Games Main Stadium. He is a co-founder of the multidisciplinary design practice SISO (Systematic Input Soft Output), based in Syracuse, Minneapolis, and Seoul, and is director of the Material Archi-Tectonic Research (MATR) Lab at SyracuseCoE.

How SyracuseCoE Helped: SyracuseCoE provided support for fabrication equipment in the MATR Lab as well as funding for research interns, materials, and publication costs. “The support from SyracuseCoE has been critical for advancing my career as a young researcher,” says Park. “That assistance includes supporting and guiding funding proposals, inviting and introducing me to events and people, and providing the space and resources to set up my lab.”


See published research for Daekwon Park