On behalf of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning, especially the students who now present the culmination of their M. Arch education through their thesis, we extend our gratitude to the guest critics who have generously joined us on Thursday, December 22, 2022:

Erin Besler, Garnette Cadogan, Sean Canty, Beatriz Colomina, Natalia Dopazo, Jenny French, Antonio Furgiuele, Caroline Jones, Ang Li, Diana Martinez, Lauren Pacheco, Julian Rose, John Todd, Ivonne Santoyo Orozco, Hans Tursack, Matthew Okazaki, Mark Wigley, and Alpha Yacob Arsano.

MIT Master’s
of Architecture

Fall 2022

Not So Correct:
Rebuilding with the Fragments of Memories

Yoonjae Oh 

Thesis Committee 

Rosalyne Shieh

Mohamad Nahleh
Terry Knight

This thesis was motivated by a question my grandfather (1928-2022) asked, "Can you rebuild my hometown?“ How can I rebuild a place that remains in memory? Defining success of rebuilding is highly subjective as people value various elements in memory differently. Furthermore, verifying the result of rebuilding is difficult in the absence of the original author. Thus, the goal of this thesis is not to provide an universal criteria to evaluate rebuilding. Rather, it is to explore different approaches and elements that can be used to rebuild places in memory by recreating my grandfather’s hometown based on conversations I had with him.

I partially recreated his hometown’s landscape based on a story of the day he left his hometown; he left his house to avoid being drafted into the Korean War in 1952, but what was meant to be a 7-day hide-out ended up becoming a 75-year leave. I recreate his footprints, the spaces he stepped on and the landscape he saw, as if I were closely following him. I create key artifacts of that day by intertwining fragments of my grandfather’s memories, layering my interpretations of real data and anecdotal details from his recollection. The hypothetical world created through compilation of these artifacts, closely linked by a thread of imaginations and real memories, represents sentimental and physical qualities of the places that remain in his memory.

Although somewhat enigmatic and obscure, the recreation of my grandfather’s cherished hometown was my way of bidding farewell to my grandfather. This project shows that nostalgia can be a powerful source of inspiration, even when memories are fragmented and fuzzy.