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Prof. Jin Baek Jin Baek






B.S., M.S. Seoul National University, Korea
M.Arch. Yale University, U.S.
Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, U.S.


Jin Baek earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from Seoul National University, Master of Architecture from Yale University, and completed his Ph.D. in the history and theory of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining the Department of Architecture and Architectural Engineering, Seoul National University, he taught theory, design studios and history at the University of South Florida, Pennsylvania State University and University of Tokyo. His research focuses on phenomenology, phenomenology-based design theory, environmental ethics, cultural significance of urban regeneration, and cross-cultural issues between modern East Asian architecture and Western architecture. He is the author of Nothingness: Tadao Ando’s Christian Sacred Space (Routledge, 2009), Architecture as the Ethics of Climate (Routledge, 2016) and Punggyeongryuheang (Drifting through Landscapes) (Hyohyung, 2013). His articles have been published in leading architectural and philosophical journals such as the Architectural Research Quarterly, Journal of Architectural Education, Architectural Theory Review, Center, Philosophy East and West, Buildings, JAABE and so forth. He is currently writing a book that deals with the architectural and urban phenomena of Korea in reference to the primary themes of phenomenology such as place, perception and body, the everyday and typicality, temporality and sedimentation, identity and difference, and so forth.


To restore is never to reestablish; it is to mask.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Baek’s research deals with theory/history and its interrelationship with design. It aims at uncovering the silent, yet active role of architecture in upholding human situations, being predicated upon such phenomenological notions as the everyday, body, memory, perception, atmosphere, temporality and the accumulation of meaning, polyvalence, identity and difference, and self-negation and transcendence. In this regard, another matter of interest for Baek is the openness or capacity of architecture that empties out what it was intended to be in order to become something else in a fictive manner. The beauty of Art Nouveau and the emptiness of minimalism are equally suffocating: The architecture of Adolf Loos that appears to be unfinished in a sense is closer to the positive openness. The architecture of openness or capacity negates self-referential and self-enclosed autonomy, and emptiness as its aesthetic product; it comes to be necessarily engaged with the surrounding conditions and in extension with the city in order to clarify its identity, like a co-dependent origination, and to be filled with meaning. Such architecture is fundamentally contextual and topographical. An architectural meaning emerges only through its reciprocity with the city in the forms of continuity, analogy, complementation, contrast, negation and so forth. It is in this context that Baek is deeply interested in such urban issues as type, institution, performance, event and hybridity. Baek is currently working on a book that adopts a phenomenological approach to deal with the commonality and the other-ness of the architectural experience beyond the dominant first-person experientialism often disguised as phenomenology in contemporary architecture. Another manuscript under development discusses temporality of architecture and the city and the nature of their future based upon the ideas of collage and hybridity. The ultimate goal of Baek’s research is to put forth alternative perspectives and interpretations that complement the limits of aestheticism, techno-futurism, prescription-oriented utopianism and paradigm theory, while acknowledging their contributions.


History of Architecture 2
Activity and Space
Introduction to Architectural History
Issues on Contemporary Architecture
Seminar on Urbanism