Biophilic Housing Matrix

Location: Seoul, South Korea
Status: Research / Publication
Date: 2017

Many of climate change’s threats — floods, droughts, loss of biodiversity and food systems — disproportionately affect cities as urban populations rise. How a city like Seoul is designed in relation to social and natural systems has tremendous consequences for urban resilience, the capacity to feed populations, and the ability to prevent, survive, mitigate, and adapt to climactic and environmental change. The biophilic housing matrix tackles issues of urban resilience by intertwining productive natural systems and housing.


Our definition of urban resilience draws on theories from ecology, disaster risk reduction, urban planning and governance – but is based primarily on the Panarchy theory of resilience by system ecologists Gunderson and Holling. Resilience, or the tolerance of a system, is defined by the capacity it has to absorb disturbance and reorganize while retaining the same function, structure, identity, and feedbacks. Applied to the context of Seoul, our proposed interventions explore how the following resilience-bolstering design principles manifest in the built form: Social and ecological integration, small scale action with large scale thinking, always be learning and modularity.

These 4 design principles are applied to our concept, as we aim to connect people to one another and to an urban ecology through agricultural production. We are interested in exploring opportunities for ecological and agricultural cultivation and harvesting as an integrated live/work experience. The resulting productive networks create communities and identities defined by purpose, place, and production. Among the many types of typologies that can be created, this project elaborates upon orchard homes, pollinator meadow homes and urban farm homes for food production.

Nicolas Koff