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AKA.N Newsletter

We wish you a merry Christmas and a very happy new year. The AKAN project has reached its two-year mark, and in this issue of the newsletter we report our book project, “Multimodality in Architecture.”

As introduced in our AKA.N Symposiums, the first book, “Multimodality in Architecture: Collaboration, Technology and Education“, has been successfully submitted to Springer Nature, collecting 15 chapters. Part I (Collaboration) of this book examines multimodality and architectural teams. Some topics covered include design processes and communication in remote teamwork, digital design collaboration, co-design in virtual environments, and the complexities of cross-cultural and multilingual design practice. Part II (Technology) is focused on multimodality and technology in architecture and design. The content includes research about the operations of design teams in immersive virtual environments, advanced scanning and three-dimensional printing technology, AI-generated images for architects, and collective intelligence models incorporating human and digital inputs. Part III (Education) examines problem-based learning in a virtual environment, modelling stress in educational settings, learner experiences of computer-mediated environments, and pattern languages to support educational design. The book (ISBN: 9783031495106) will be on bookshelves in February 2024!

This issue of the newsletter shares the outcomes of our second symposium and reports the first publication developed from this international project.

AKA.N Symposium 2023 at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney)

On 4 August 2023, the AKA.N symposium 2023, “Multiculturalism and Multimodality in Architecture” was successfully held at UNSW Sydney. The symposium highlighted communication and collaboration challenges faced by architectural teams working remotely, sharing innovative ideas about efficient and sustainable design collaboration between designers working in a diverse range of environments. After Michael Ostwald’s opening, the symposium intensively discussed two combined themes, Digital Design Collaboration and BIM (Panel: Ju Hyun Lee/Hoon Han), Computer Supported Collaborative Design (CSCD) and culture (Panel: Lan Ding/Ning Gu).

Furthermore, during the morning workshop, Korean academics from Hanyang University conducted a technical workshop on Biometrics in Architecture (Panel: Han Jong Jun / Seung Yeul Ji / Michael J. Dawes), initiating bilateral collaborative research.

Design Team Cognition Across Spaces and Cultures: An Exploratory Protocol Study

The research team (Ju Hyun Lee, Michael J. Ostwald, and Samaneh Arasteh) has published a book chapter titled “Design Team Cognition Across Spaces and Cultures: An Exploratory Protocol Study“, in Cultural Space on Metaverse, KAIST Research Series (by Springer Nature). While historically the design team was almost always co-located, physically sharing the same space, tools, and systems, over the last few decades, advances in information and communication technology (ICT) have broadened the definitions of collaboration and teamwork, to include a range of Computer-Supported Collaborative Workplaces (CSCW). Such CSCWs have become core to the cognitive and communicative operations of design teams around the world. Furthermore, architectural design education and practice are increasingly reliant on multilingual and multicultural teamwork. Design team cognition (DTC) is central to design teamwork, particularly in a synchronous or asynchronous, distributed environment. However, DTC in remote, diverse collaboration processes is still largely uncharted territory. Thus, this exploratory protocol study (i) captures in-depth cognitive activities related to four DTC levels of online collaboration (visual communication, verbal communication, design coordination, and task coordination), (ii) compares the DTC results of two cultural teams (mono-cultural and cross-cultural) and their patterns over time, and through this, (iii) develops fundamental knowledge about the ways distributed, diverse teamwork settings, enable designers to effectively contribute to a changing global environment.

AKA.N NewsletterDecember 2022

We wish you a merry Christmas and a very happy new year. The AKAN project has reached its twelve-month mark, and in this issue of the newsletter we share the outcomes of our first symposium, and report reference group meetings, design experiments and a newly awarded ARC DP grant.

AKA.N Symposium 2022 at Hanyang Univ.

On 25 August 2022, a hybrid symposium, “Multiculturism and Multimodality in Architecture”, co-chaired by Dr Ju Hyun Lee at UNSW Sydney and Prof Mi Jeong Kim at Hanyang Univ., was successfully held at Hanyang Univ., South Korea with about one hundred participants (20+ presenters, 40+ general participants and 40+ webinar each). The Symposium highlighted communication/collaboration challenges faced by architectural teams working remotely, sharing innovative ideas about efficient and sustainable design collaboration between designers working in a diverse range of environments. After Prof. Michael J. Ostwald’s keynote, the symposium intensively discussed about four themes, Digital Design Collaboration (Chair: Prof. Mi Jeong Kim), Building Information Modelling (Chair: A/Prof Jin-Kook Lee and Dr Ju Hyun Lee), Computer Supported Collaborative Design (CSCD) (Chair: A/Prof Lan Ding), Design and culture (Chair: A/Prof Dijana Alic and Prof Mladen Jadric).

In terms of a pre-symposium virtual workshop (Chair: Dr Michael J. Dawes), four PHD students also delivered their studies on 24 August. Selected abstracts will be invited to submit their full papers (for the 2023 symposium) that will be published in an edited Q1 book in 2023 or later. The second AKAN symposium will be held in late July or early August 2023 at UNSW Sydney, Australia.

AKA.N reference group meetings at Newcastle and Seoul

Our first reference group meeting was formed at Newcastle on 12 July 2022, and was an opportunity for project agendas and approaches to be discussed and reviewed. Prof Michael J. Ostwald, Dr Tessa Morrison, Prof Ning Gu, Dr Ju Hyun Lee, and Maria Roberts (L to R of the left photo) met on the day for networking and briefing on the AKAN project. In August 2022, three Korean reference group meetings were also held at Hanyang Univ. (Prof Mi Jeong Kim, Prof Han Jong Jun, and multiple researchers) and Yonsei Univ. (Prof Hyun Soo Lee, A/Prof Jin-Kook Lee, and professionals). The reference group meetings involved several intensive discussions about the development of AKAN network and design experiments, sharing experts’ experiences in remote design collaboration during/after the COVID 19 pandemic.

Design experiments and protocol analysis

A series of design experiments have been being conducted in both Australia and South Korea. The protocol analysis of collected data was also started by RA. While a special thanks to research participants that contributed to their design experiments, we are still recruiting teams in both Australia and South Korea. Please make sure that all design experiments and interviews are conducted online.

See details on the project website –

ARC 2023 Discovery Grant

Two principle participants of the project, Dr Ju Hyun Lee and Prof Michael J. Ostwald have been awarded an ARC 2023 DP Grant, Architectural Design Across Spaces and Cultures: Technology and Language.  This is one out of eight ARC DPs awarded in the BE field nationally.  The ARC DP project, an extended version of this AKAN project, addresses two significant productivity barriers facing Australia’s architectural practices; designing in spatially distributed and culturally diverse teams. Its goal is to leverage the opportunities provided through technological advances and multicultural practices, to remove barriers to design productivity and enhance creativity. In this context, the four-year ARC DP project will further rigorously explore the communication and collaboration challenges faced by architectural teams working remotely, identified in this AKAN project, until 2026.


AKAN NewsletterJune 2022

Annual Project Meeting

On 17 June 2022, the first annual meeting among project team members from Australia and Korea happened. In attendance were Dr Ju Hyun Lee, Prof Michael Ostwald (마이클 오스트왈드), A/Prof Lan Ding (랜 딩), A/Prof Dijana Alic (디아나 알릭) and Dr Samaneh Arasteh (사마내 아라스태) from UNSW, Prof. Mark Taylor (마크 테일러) from Swinburne Univ. and A/Prof Willy Sher (윌리 셔) from the Univ. of Newcastle; Prof Mi Jeong Kim from Hanyang Univ. and A/Prof Jin-Kook Lee from Yonsei Univ.

Project Goals, Key Events, Key outcomes, Website development, Networking, Preliminary Design Experiment, AKAN symposium 2022, and Design Experiment were presented and discussed by the project team members. It was a productive day, generating insightful discussion of the research methodology and project directions. Some of the topics covered in the meeting included feedback on the project aims, networking, research approaches and recruitment strategies.

Website launch

The new project website was launched at the meeting and formally went live. All project material, including this newsletter, has been given a facelift with a new logo representing “Australia-Korea Architecture Network (AKAN)”. Project updates and links to relevant research will continue to be added. The project team invite you to visit.

Design experiment – pilot study

A pilot study (remote design collaboration) was conducted in June 2022. Two architects (Utkarsha Gharat and Reuben Roy) were asked to design a multi-generational house for inhabitants who range from young children through to seniors and to complete three design stages (idea generation, schematic design and design development).

A special thanks to research participants that contributed to the pilot study.

Recruitment for a main study

This project aims to recruit 5-7 teams (a team formed by a pair of participants) in both Australia and South Korea to reveal the cross-cultural characteristics of remote design collaboration. Participants (architects and related professionals) will be offered a $30 e-voucher (e.g., PaypalJB or Westfield gift vouchers) per (teamwork) session or per participant (in total $99 AUD) in recognition of any reasonable expenses incurred while completing both the self-recording and interview stages.

See details or contact to Program Coordinator: Dr Samaneh Arasteh ( or