Julie Kim
Photo: College of Design

Julie Ju-Youn Kim, AIA, Appointed
School of Architecture Chair

Julie Ju-Youn Kim, AIA, Appointed
School of Architecture Chair

Ann Hoevel | May 22, 2023 — Atlanta, GA

Associate Professor Julie Ju-Youn Kim has been appointed the new chair of the Georgia Tech School of Architecture. She will begin the role on August 1, 2023.

"I am very excited to welcome Julie Kim to the leadership team of the College of Design," said Ellen Bassett, John Portman Chair and dean of the College of Design.  "She is extremely well-prepared to lead our largest school, the School of Architecture, into the future."

"She brings to the job an evident passion for architecture as a professional endeavor, a demonstrated commitment to quality design instruction and student well-being, as well as an invaluable level of knowledge about the school, the Institute, and the larger Atlanta community," Dean Bassett said.

As chair, Kim said she will strengthen the School through its place at Georgia Tech, among leaders who inspire creativity, engagement, and collaboration. Her goals include enhancing the School's culture of research and creative scholarship, enriching pedagogy, increasing access, and promoting equity.

“The work that we do in the School of Architecture is a collaborative enterprise. I don't see this work happening in isolation,” Kim said. “I have always been invested in exploring ways to connect across the College of Design and expand our footprint across campus. I will continue to build and strengthen interdisciplinary partnerships in research, education, and practice.”

A faculty member since 2015, Kim looks forward to preparing the next generation of leaders across each of the school’s degree programs to engage the complex design challenges of the future.

“We are standing on the shoulders of giants.” Building on the legacies of Chuck Eastman, Fried Augenbroe, and Craig Zimring, Kim said she will seek to open novel, transformative lines of research that can support stronger ties across campus and industry. These ambitious research agendas will contribute to the growth of the School’s Master of Science and Ph.D. programs.

As she prepares to lead the school, Kim said, “I’m looking forward as well as backward to see where we’ve been, where we stand, and how we might imagine a new future. This is an exciting moment as these actions of building towards change are inherently optimistic.”

Increasingly Sophisticated Tools Require Vision

Julie Kim reviews student architecture work.
Photo: College of Design
Julie Kim, standing to the right, reviews student work for the Spring 2023 FC2 Workshop: (Setting the Foundation for a) Sustainable Mobile Learning Lab in Westside Neighborhood-English Avenue.

“There’s no shortage of ambition in our School or at Georgia Tech,” Kim said. 

“There's this kind of hunger or thirst in our students to absorb as much as possible. Sophisticated technologies and knowledge in the right hands and minds can empower designers to make better and smarter design choices. But we also know that those tools are not prescriptive," Kim said. "In other words, they don't tell us what to do or how to do it.”

"I’m really inspired by Julie’s research, teaching, and community engagement work and I see it as a model for the entire college," Dean Bassett said.

"I am excited to see her interact with our other dynamic chairs as well as our talented faculty and staff. The College as a whole is in a transformational moment and I hope – no, I really expect -- that Julie will be at the forefront of this change," Bassett said.

Kim’s research and scholarship closely connect studio teaching and the exploration of new models of architectural practice. Her research lab, the Flourishing Communities Collaborative, is one of the School’s best vehicles for linking different fields of knowledge and data and analysis with imaginative design thinking in order to address critical social problems. She was recently won recognized with the 2023 AIA Georgia Educator of the Year Award and the 2023 ACSA Collaborative Practice Award for her efforts.

Educators must teach both the knowledge and the skills as well as the sensibility and mind to use them, Kim said. “Strong technical training balanced with radical creative thinking can be the vehicle for other types of inventions or methodologies for design processes and workflows. But we must continue to ask ‘how?’ and if the means justifies the end."

“Even as our discipline becomes directed and distracted by data and computation, we must defend and protect the qualitative decisions we make, managing our creative ambitions in a complex world driven by metrics.”

Compilation of three architecture renderings
Rendering: School of Architecture
Fall 2022 Junior Architecture Design studio. Left: “Medium” (N. Bridges, S. Lofton, A. Quek, C. Whelan). Center: “The Stitch” (C. Puckhaber, R. Rewatkar, R. Stoddard, G. Walters). Right: “Intermission” (H. Blodgett, R. Iheme, S. McMains, E. Petry).

Our Students and Our Alumni Share This Life

There’s an urban legend about the East Architecture Building, where the Architecture program was housed in the 1950s: As soon as they turned the power on to the building, the lights never went out again.

That’s because, as any Georgia Tech architecture graduate will tell you, it takes a lot of work to solve the wicked problems of the built environment.

“Architecture is a life,” Kim said. “We want to live it passionately.” She admits, this used to mean burning the midnight oil, dreaming up new parts of whatever project is at hand. “Today, though, I believe in balance. Being passionate means enjoying all parts of life. This makes us all more thoughtful in what we do and why we do it. There's a deep sense of commitment and passion in architecture students because they understand that it has a physical impact on the world,” Kim said.

“Our world is our laboratory – every day there are wonderful things that surprise us. An architectural education starts by teaching us how to see, how to think, and how to imagine.”

What seems to be the common characteristic of Georgia Tech architects is that they are eager to contribute to projects that matter and have a meaningful impact, she said. That common passion for helping people is also the main reason Kim looks forward to fostering and maintaining strong relationships with the School’s alumni. 

“I see our alumni as being an incredible resource,” she said. “All the ways in which they're impacting their communities, whether it's here in Atlanta, or across the country, around the world — those are such valuable lessons for our students. I'm very excited to build those connections.” 

“I am committed to building on the legacies of our impactful alumni who have forged new directions in practice – and will continue to advance the School’s connections to practice and industry in pursuit of partnerships to unlock opportunities of unlimited possibilities.”

Kim is a licensed architect whose publications link her leadership and teaching in pursuit of interdisciplinarity in architecture education, research, and practice. She holds a M. Arch from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and BA from Wellesley College.