Many researches in computational design field implement shape grammars or space syntax for morphological analysis; since my appointment to GSCT in 2007, we strived to apply the abovementioned scientific and rule-based methodologies to cultural aspects. This effort led us to explore computational design field from the perspectives of a meme, a socio-cultural analogy to genes. While trying to comprehend the concept of a meme from the cultural aspects of design and the notion of a genetic algorithm, the term ‘cultural DNA’ naturally became a keyword of the research.
Industrial Design with Cultural DNA (2013 - current)
Another advancing research integrates the ideas from industrial design with cultural DNA from the perspectives of brand identity, product analysis and synthesis, and even marketing. As a case of industrial design, my research group is analyzing the morphology of automobiles and fonts. We use big data to analyze the relationships between social, cultural, and economic aspects such as the years of production, related regions, languages, industry types, company types, and designers. The interrelationships allow us to understand the morphological trait and design intent for the analysis of ‘cultural DNA’ of industrial products. As an especially interdisciplinary research, we are collaborating with Prof. Juyong Park and Prof. Wonjae Lee (GSCT, KAIST) for insights on social and cultural phenomena from the big data analysis. In addition, we are collaborating with Prof. Minki Kim (KAIST) to understand the economic significance of brand identity in marketing. This research has been published in several international conference papers and has been submitted to three SCI journal papers.
After coming back from teaching and researching in Taiwan for five years, Prof. Chiou and I still led a joint research with a co-advised doctorate student. Taiwan and Korea have common historical backgrounds in the early 1900s being a colony of Japanese imperialism. Thus, the city planning during this era was inevitably influenced by the Japanese style of urban development. The research entails the exploration of cultural transitions of the Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese cities built during the colony of Japanese imperialism to find out the ‘cultural DNA’ of urban planning.
The research is still continuing with the doctorate student in our Lab.
The research first began while exploring the evolution of high-speed trains that was bio-inspired by the morphology of a boxfish. Then, this research gradually developed to construct a large biomimicry database of an entire Kingdom in biological classification. Although this database is based on the AskNature database from the Biomimicry Database 3.8 Project in the U.S., my research group elaborated the data of each Kingdom down to its Species increasing the existing number of data from 3,000 to 20,000. In addition, we are currently focusing on the Function-Behavior-Structure (FBS) attributes of the designed artifacts to facilitate when referring to the biomimicry database during engineering design.
김선중, 이지현 (2011). 생체모방을 통한 외형설계를 위한 정보기반 설계 방법 연구. 한국건설IT융합학회 추계학술대회 논문집, 24 November 2011, pp. 55-56. (Prize for Excellent Paper Award)
VECSiD International Workshop (2009)
A motivational event was when we organized an international workshop in 2009 focusing on the analysis of Korean and Spanish patterns using shape grammars called, ‘Visual Exploration of Cultural Style in Design (VECSiD).’
Jowers, I., Prats, M., Eissa, H. & Lee, J.-H. (2010). A Study of Emergence in the Generation of Islamic Geometric Patterns. In B. Dave, A. Li, N. Gu, & H.-J. Park (Eds.), CAAD's New Frontiers: Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia, 7-10 April 2010, Hong Kong (pp. 39-48). Hong Kong SAR: The Association for Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia (Web of Science).