Yujin Oh

Yujin graduated from NYSID’s MPS in Sustainable Interior Environments program in August 2014. She received her BFA in Interior Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design and worked for a year at the Switzer Group as a design intern. She was a recipient of NYSID’S 2014 Alumni Award.

 How did your interests shape your choice to study sustainable design?
I have always felt that designers shouldn’t only prioritize aesthetics, but also be thoughtful about how it affects the client and the environment. Sustainable design impacts people's health and productivity, and therefore I believe those who consider green design can be more thoughtful in their work.

For your final project, you worked with two other students to design a house that incorporates biomimicry. What is biomimicry and why was it a part of your design concept?Biomimicry is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems. It is based in the theory that there is an instinctive biological bond between human beings and other living systems and it is concerned with the enhancement of this connection for human health and well-being. 

My partners Carolina Martins and Mansi Tarneja and I incorporated these two concepts into our design for the Miller residence. While researching the San Diego site of our building, we found that the deep canyons and hills nearby gave parts of the area a segmented feel. This appealed to us, so we decided to push our design concept towards the biomimicry of that shifting, scattered feeling to be in harmony with the environment.

We wanted to create an open home plan for the Miller family with plenty of space to explore, creating interactions with nature, and to provide access to natural light because the couple both have careers in nature—the wife is an herbalist and the husband is in oceanology. The other reason is that one of their three children suffers from Down syndrome and the opportunities to explore nature in a safe environment would offer a variety of tactile experiences that might educational and healing.

Tell us about your involvement in the student chapter of the US Green Building Council?
I was the vice president of the NYSID student chapter of the US Green Building Council (USGBC), an organization that is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. One of the USBGC initiatives is to work with colleges and their students to integrate sustainability into their curricula.  

The NYSID’s student chapter organizes activities such as visits to sustainable architecture and interior design firms and sustainable material showrooms and factories. We also host lectures and participate in community service projects. We are currently working on building a green roof system for NYSID’s roof top terrace. One of my main objectives is to encourage NYSID students to be more aware of sustainability and to learn the importance of green design.