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Alex Young Il Seo

Alex  Young Il Seo

Alex Young Il Seo

King's College

Research Area: 'Frontier Village: Understanding Korean Border through Human Habitation'

Supervisor: Dr Wendy Pullan


Alex Young Il Seo is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Urban Conflicts Research (UCR), Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge – as a Cambridge Commonwealth, European and International Trust Scholar. His doctoral research 'Frontier Village: Understanding Korean Border through Human Habitation' (preliminary title) examines the construction and representation of the inter-Korean border and borderland in people's everyday lives, looking specifically at the frontier villages in Cheorwon, South Korea.

Alex received a Bachelor of Architectural Studies and holds a Masters of Architecture (Hons) from University of Auckland. During his studies, Alex worked as a research assistant for the Advanced Design Studio I, tutor for Computer Assisted Studio and as an editor for Modos – The University of Auckland Architectural Magazine. After completion of his degree, he worked as an architect in various architectural firms, while teaching as a design supervisor at the Department of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland. Alex investigated post-earthquake scenarios for the reconstruction of the city of Christchurch as a researcher at the Sumner Urban Research Group, before continuing his academic studies as a visiting research student at the GSD Harvard and Seoul National University.

Alex is a coordinator and convenor of the Martin Centre Lecture Series and co-editor of Scroope 26 – The Cambridge Architectural Journal. He was a co-convenor of the UCR’s PhD and Early-Career Workshop ‘Doing Architectural Research: Socio-political Perspectives on Theories, Methodologies and Praxis’ held in Cambridge, 2017. Alex supervises the BA Tripos (ARB/RIBA Part II) courses 'Divided Cities' and 'Urban Issues Today' at the University of Cambridge.

Selected Conference Papers and Presentations:
'Korean Frontier Villages: Architectural Mechanisms for Occupying the Contested Border', Somewhere In Between: Borders and Borderlands, Interdisciplinary Research Foundation, London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research and Space and Place Research Hub, London College of Communication (April 2017)
'Understanding Korean Border through Human Habitation', Boundaries and Jurisdictions: Defining the Urban, Urban History Group, Royal Holloway, University of London (March 2017)
'Architecture of the Korean Border’, New Zealand and Australian Architectural Symposium for Early Researchers, University of Auckland (September 2015)

Invited talks:
‘Post-war Resettlement Policies at the Korean Frontier’, Contemporary History Workshop, Department of History, University of Cambridge (May 2017)
‘Construction of the Free World State: Korea’s New Village Movement’, City Seminar Series Shaping Cities for the ‘Nightwatchman’ State?, University of Cambridge (October 2016)
‘Occupying the Korean Frontier’, Cheorwon, South Korea (August 2016)
‘Architecture and People of Pearl River Delta’, King’s College Urbanist Group Seminar Series Body-City-Space, King’s College, University of Cambridge (May 2016)
‘Making of the inter-Korean border: Who owns the minefields?’, Department of Architecture and Planning, University of Auckland (September 2015)
‘Agonistic City: The Case of Macau’, New Zealand Institute of Architects Winter Lecture Series, Auckland (November 2012)

Research Interests

  • Role of architecture in the areas of conflict
  • Frontier villages and human habitation at the border
  • Post-war cities and landscapes
  • Mobility across borders and its restriction
  • Surveillance and border infrastructures
  • Post-colonial cities and landscapes

Key Publications

Whang, S. O. & Seo A. Y. (2017) 'A New Way of Saying: An Apologia for an Artist's Process' Scroope: The Cambridge Architecture Journal, Issue 26, Apologia.  

Manfredini, M., Seo, A. Y., Tang, X. X., Wang, S., & et al. Sumner town centre regeneration, Christchurch.[Prints] Sumner School Hall, Dryden Street, Sumner, Christchurch, New Zealand. 20/11/2011 - 21/11/2011

Manfredini, M., Seo, A. Y., Tang, X. X., Wang, S., & et al. Re-assembling the urban: Sumner Creative City. Spaces and places for communities, cultures and hospitality, Christchurch. [Prints and videos] Marriner Street Art Space, Sumner, Christchurch, New Zealand. 19/11/2011 - 26/11/2011