In the 1960s, schools of architecture started teaching that their discipline wasn’t just about beauty or efficiency or design — it was about people. One of the most important innovations that emerged in that era was the field of environment and behavior studies, which holds that people’s needs dictate architectural design. When Benyamin Schwarz became a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan, he chose the field of Environmental Gerontology, and it became his life’s work.
So-Yeon Yoon admits that while she has always liked computer games, even as a young child, she has also always enjoyed painting and drawing. Yoon describes her watercolor paintings and how for her the creative process is “very addictive”: “I like colors and creating something beautiful, and creating things on the computer actually gives the same kind of fulfillment.” She is attracted to three-dimensional (3-D) images and experimenting with different textures and colors. Thus it is perhaps no surprise that Yoon found herself drawn to the field of architecture and interior design—“a perfect match” in which her creative desires and her interest in computers could merge. Today, the assistant professor of Architectural Studies focuses her research and teaching on the areas of Human Environmental Psychology and Interior and Architectural Design. Her current research combines information technology with interior design and architecture, a composite field in which she applies technology, particularly virtual reality (VR), to interior design problems.
How architects can design homes that will sustain people as they age.
Schwarz is known for playing five minutes of classical music before each of his classes. He believes it can teach students about beauty.
Schwarz talks about his teaching methods in the Writing Intensive classroom. He was awarded the MU Campus Writing Program’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2013.
The story of one man who couldn’t survive the troubles aging and the culture of the United States’ nursing homes.
Schwarz talks about his time working as an Israeli representative in Detroit.
Schwarz describes why the world needs better-designed nursing homes, especially for dementia patients. One example of his own work is Parc Provence, a skilled nursing and assisted living facility in the St. Louis area.
Yoon shows some examples of her students’ studio projects—designs made from computer-generated images by undergraduate and graduate students. “I’m very proud of what our students are doing,” she says of students on the cutting edge of technology. “I’m very anxious to see what our future will give us, especially in Design with Digital Media.”
Yoon speaks proudly of the Design With Digital Media program, which includes M.A., M.S., and Ph.D. tracks. “We have a great program,” she says. “We have a good group of teachers and students coming from all over the world” to study the intersection between technology and architectural and interior design.
Yoon admits she has always liked computers and computer games, even as a young child, and was encouraged because it was something she could do better than her siblings. Also engaged with painting and drawing, Yoon found herself drawn to the field of architecture and interior design, one that could merge her creative impulses and her interest in computers.
Yoon teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the Department of Architectural Studies. Her courses tend to focus on emerging technology (including Interior Design, Visual Design, Computer Graphics and Design, Photoshop, 3-D Computer Animation, and Web Graphic Design). Asked how she manages to stay at the cutting edge of technology, Yoon replies that she relies on her students: “Teaching is an essential part of my research, because I can use my students’ help.”
Yoon recently published Impact of Desktop Virtual Reality on System Usability: A Case Study of Online Consumer Survey Using a VR Integrated Decision Support System (2004). The book offers basic knowledge about VR technology and focuses on the dimension of human-computer interaction. For example, she addresses the utility of VR software, how users actually interact with the tools, and what kinds of advantages can be expected when adopting this technology.
Yoon’s work combines architectural and interior designs with information technology. Applying the latest computer initiatives, Yoon studies how technology can assist people–for example, by improving their decision-making process.
Because of her lifelong interests, So-Yeon Yoon was drawn to the field of architecture and interior design. It was “a perfect match,” one in which her creative desires and her interest in computers could merge. Today, this assistant professor of Architectural Studies teaches focuses her research and teaching on the areas of Human Environmental Psychology and Interior and Architectural Design. Yoon’s current research combines information technology with interior design and architecture. That is, she applies technology, particularly virtual reality (VR), to interior design problems.