Ihsan Community Center Design and Renovation

The “Ihsan Community Center Design and Renovation” is a sponsored studio by Ihsan community. The studio explored design possibilities and engaged the Ihsan community in developing future visions. The redesign and renovation of the current Ihsan community center emphasized logical architectural space, including prayer area, classrooms for educational programs, multi-purpose hall, and outdoor recreation. The project was developed by optimizing the current structure, space reorganization, and looking to build a vision for the land and building that will bring a sense of pride to the Islamic architecture and will encourage participation from youth and adults alike.

DAAP team: Kristian Van Wiel, Maddie Cooke, Nick Chism, Seanna LaGanke, Ummul Buhari-Mohammed, Amy Cui. Faculty: Ming Tang. Advisors: Xiangbin Xu, Yongquan Chen

UC DAAP students presented their design to the Ihsan Community members. Photograph by Xiangbin Xu



Community engagement.

presentation at the Ihsan community.

The proposed design was modeled in Autodesk BIM 360 + Revit, and evaluated through the immsersive VR with Occulus Quest.


Thanks to all the supports from the Ihsan Community, the School of Architecture and Interior Design, and Autodesk. Thanks to the field trip with the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati (ICGC), Clifton Mosque, and Islamic Center of Mason.

For more information on this project, please contact Ihsan Community or Prof. Ming Tang at UC DAAP.

Collaborative teaching to study the social impact of A.I, Automation, and Robots

Funded by UC Forward Course Development grant. The Future of (no) Work and Artificial Intelligence.

Amount: $15,000.  The courses will be offered in the Fall semester. 2020.

  • Ming Tang, Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Interior Design, DAAP
  • Cory Haberman, Assistant Professor and Director of the Institute of Crime Science, CECH
  • Tamara Lorenz, Assistant Professor, Psychology-Mechanical Engineering-Electrical Engineering (jointly appointed). Department of Psychology. College of A&S.

Self-portrait drawing. designed by Google Machine Learning named “DeepDream”. Painted by Kuka Robot. By Ming Tang. 2018

Historically, computerization has primarily been confined to manual and cognitive routine tasks involving explicit rule-based activities. With technology, computers, and robots rapidly improving in our modern age, analysts are predicting many jobs will be replaced with automation and machinery. A 2013 study by Frey and Osborne predicted that in the coming decades 47% of current jobs were at high risk of being replaced by machines. Some job sectors, namely automobile manufacturing, have already been heavily impacted by the computerization in factories. (Frey and Osborne) Many experts are arguing that several routine, low skill, and physical jobs will disappear in the coming decades as Artificial intelligence (A.I) and Robotics technology grows. Even some “none-routine, creative” jobs such as writing, art, and music will also be impacted by the computerization and algorithms. Among these non-routine jobs, there has been work and research towards “simulated human” since the Turing test. Simply put, the goal is to make output that cannot be distinguished as being created by a human or a computer.
The ability of A.I and robots to mimic human decision making will undoubtedly affect jobs in the years to come. Our team believes we are progressing into a time where A.I and human-robot collaboration are creating concurrently, and we should embrace these possibilities into our curriculum to study our perceptions of the robots in the future world and how our behaviors might be impacted by these autonomous technologies. To prepare our students for future challenges, it is essential to create a simulated future world to study how A.I, Automation, and Robots (AAR) will interact with humans and form a new symbiotic relationship.
The faculty team will break down the process of the simulated future world as a two-stage process. The first stage is using virtual reality (VR) to develop an immersive digital environment populated with advanced AI and robots to simulate future living and working environments. We will model various humanoid robots (field robots, social robots), and humanoid police robots (UAV, industrial robots). The second stage of the process is to immerse students into these future world scenarios and test human reaction towards AAR through VR. In the second stage, the faculty team will work together to acquire IRB and create data collection plan with students from the three courses. The team has investigated this two-stage approach and will set up several shared seminars and presentations to promote student dialogues in Fall semester 2020.

Team and roles

Prof. Tang has taught virtual reality, robotics for digital fabrication, and applied A.I controlled agents for wayfinding study in DAAP1. Through his ARCH 4001, 4th-year Architecture design studio, he will lead the scenario design for the future working and living space and create VR environments for the other two courses.
Prof Cory Haberman uses quantitative methods to understand spatial-temporal crime patterns. He also uses mixed-methods research to advance evidence-based policing with particular interests in crime analysis, hot spots policing and focused deterrence. Through his CJ7010-001: Seminar in Criminal Justice Course, he will lead the students to evaluate the potential of criminal behavior in the future world impacted by policing robots, UAVs, and A.I controlled surveillance systems.
Prof. Tamara Lorenz exploring the dynamics of human interaction and their relevance and usability for Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). Her focus areas are rehabilitation engineering and HRI in manufacturing. She is also interested in exploring human-machine interaction in general and with applications to human factors in daily life and work surroundings. Through her PSYC 3043 – HUMAN PERFORMANCE course, she will lead the students to study human behavior towards robots in the future working and living environment.


The goal of the proposed project is to integrate three courses from the existing curriculums to promote interdisciplinary collaboration that proactively enhances the understanding of how A.I, Automation, and Robots (AAR) can impact human behavior. We hope to teach students both human behavior study methods and let them experience a possible future world through VR. Collectively, the team will investigate how human decisions may be influenced by either the robots, autonomous environment or both.
The following objectives will be achieved through designated coursework:
Objective 1: To understand the fundamentals of AAR technology and its applications in future scenarios.
Objective 2: To investigate the human perception and behavior towards the AAR through VR.

Objective 3: To understand the symbiosis of man and A.I in the new era through human robots interaction (HRI) study.


The collaborative courses will target both undergraduate and graduate students and encourage them to explore, discover, discuss, and construct research related to AAR. Major activities associated with teaching, research, and scenario development will collaborate with three colleges, A&S, CEAS, and DAAP. Three courses from the curriculums are calibrated to formulate a coherent investigation on the future world in alignment with the designated objectives.
• Course 1: ARC4001 – capstone design studio, future world design, and VR simulation. Offered by Ming Tang in Fall Semester 2020.
• Course 2: PSYC 3043 – HUMAN PERFORMANCE, Offered by Tamara Lorenz in Fall Semester 2020.
• Course 3: CJ7010-001: Seminar in Criminal Justice. Offered by Cory Haberman in Fall Semester 2020.

Hybrid Construction

A hybrid construction using Hololens AR model overlay with the physical structure. The second half of the video is captured through MS Hololens. However, due to the low visibility of the holographic image under sunlight, we are not able to use the AR model to guide installation. Research to be continued….

Installation. SAID, DAAP, University of Cincinnati
Base structure by 1st year SAID, students.
Add-on structure + Augmented Reality by ARCH3014 students.

GA: Robert Peebles, Lauren Meister, Damario Walker-Brown, Jordan Sauer, DanielAnderi. Faculty: Ming Tang

Video captured by 360 camera, MS Hololens, Fologram. Check out full installation image here.


Uptown Cincinnati Urban Mobility Studio

Studio Brief

Following the sucess of Fall 2018 Urban Mobility studio, using Cincinnati Uptown and proposed Smart Corridor area as the focus area, the Spring 2019 studio presents a study investigating the urban mobility with an emphasis on the simulated human behavior cues and movement information as input parameters. The research is defined as a hybrid method which seeks logical architecture/urban forms and analyzes its’ performance. As one of the seven-courses-clusters supported by UC Forward, the studio project extends urban mobility study by exploring, collecting, analyzing, and visualizing spatial information and generate computational forms through various Virtual Reality, and eye-tracking, and stress analysis technologies.

The course project was presented at the Uptown Innovation Transportation Corridor Forum 04.31.2019, which showcased students’ smart transportation projects from courses in transportation engineering, urban planning and architecture. Please check out the Uptown Corridor: storymap webpage for other courses outcome at UC.

SAID faculty: Ming Tang. NCARB, RA, LEED AP.

SAID Students: Alan Bossman, Shreya Jasrapuria, Grant Koniski, Jianna Lee, Josiah Ebert, Taylour Upton, Kevin Xu, Yining Fang, Ganesh Raman, Nicole Szparagowski. TA: Niloufar Kioumarsi

Faculty team: DAAP SOP: Na Chen, Xinhao Wang; DAAP SAID: Ming Tang; CEAS Civil Engineering: Heng Wei, Jiaqi Ma;  download Final report. 113 page. PDF.

Selected student projects

Final report of SAID student projects (PDF. 5MB) . Check more rendering images here at course library.

Example of VR Walkthrough (windows OS)

Designed by Tylour Upton. MARCH. SAID, DAAP, UC. download the real time walkthrough here. 2GB zip file

unzip files, double click the exe file to run it under windows OS.

Walkthrough Instruction:

  • navigation.  A, S, W, D
  • Fly: F( turn on/off)
  • Fly up: Q
  • Fly down: Z
  • First person camera control: C ( turn on/off)
  • Jump: space bar
  • Get on/off a truck: E
  • Drive truck: A, S, W, D
  • Turn on truck light: L


M.Arch. thesis books

Congratulations to Turan, Lorrin, Mark for their M.Arch thesis book completion. Thanks to all the committee advisors. Here is the abstract and full text:

Cyber-Physical Experiences: Architecture as Interface

Turan M. Akman, Committee Chair: Ming Tang, Committee Member: Joori Su, Tony Liao

Conventionally, architects have relied on qualities of several elements like materiality, light, solids and voids, patterns and paintings, mass, volume, etc. to break out of the static nature of the space, and enhance the way users experience and perceive architecture. Even though some of these elements and methods helped create more dynamic spaces, architecture is still bound by conventional, namely the physical constraints of the discipline. With the introduction of technologies like augmented reality (AR), it is becoming easier to blend digital, and physical realities, and create new types of spatial qualities and experiences. This ultimately creates possibilities that had not existed for architects before. As AR technology becomes streamlined and commonly used, architects will not be bound by the aforementioned conventional and physical constraints as a result of being able to blend digital and physical elements. Since this technology is not limited by the constraints of the physical world, the nature of the effects AR can bring are unlimited, and dynamic by its nature. Even though AR cannot replace the primary and conventional qualitative elements in architecture, it can be used to supplement and enhance the experience and qualities they provide. To explore how AR can enhance the way we experience and perceive architecture, a museum in downtown Cincinnati will be designed, and AR will be used along with conventional methods(e.g., materiality, light and shade, etc.) to mediate spatial experiences. The history of experience and perception in architecture, as well as the history of AR technology,  will be studied to better gauge what is possible with the technology, and how meaningful relationships between digital, and physical worlds, and between architecture and the user can be created. Results of this thesis will be beneficial for future designers and will help them understand how AR will be one of the methods they can use to enhance the overall architectural experience, spatial qualities, and the perception of space.

Full thesis book.


A User Centered Design Application in Eye Tracking Technologies: Children’s Perceptions Within the Built Environment

Lorrin Kline, Committee Chair: Ming Tang, Committee Member: Ann Black, Joori Suh

As architecture molds to advances in technology, so does the way architecture is thought and conceived. Architecture could be perceived as a function, with an additional layer of information that could be thought of as perception. This psychological layer brings meaning to architecture through the use of light, texture, color, and sound to one’s personal experience within the built environment. However, every user of every structure is different. We all have different needs in which the built environment provides for. It is up to the architect to decide what is best for that given design. More often than not users of that space are not involved within the design process. Children, for instance, never have a say in what their needs are within a space, it is just made for them. To better understand user needs, design strategies have been implemented to gain user feedback throughout the design process. The use of eye tracking has become a way in which designers can gauge user feedback on new designs. Eye tracking becomes a way in which the user’s eye determines what attracts their attention and for how long. This thesis will begin to use eye tracking as a study in which designers undergo the design process seeking a child’s perception of the built environment to make design decisions as well as becoming more involved throughout the process. The research will question whether implementing eye tracking studies into the design process helps understand whether testing its user aids to create better design for them or falls short. This thesis will focus design features though tactics of seeking visual attention.

Full thesis book.


Development of a Parametric Data-Driven Fixed Shading Device Design Workflow

Mark Landis, Committee Chair: Ming Tang, Committee Member: Pravin Bhiwapurkar, Amanda Webb

This thesis presents a new workflow, this thesis calls the Vector Method, to optimize a fixed shading device to reduce heating and cooling energy use so that performance and aesthetic and other design goals can be balanced while exploring various shading forms and typologies during any stage of design. This method is created out of the critique of existing shading device design methods, at times borrowing inspiration from each method’s successful attributes. Baseline test studies are conducted to determine this new method’s effectiveness in terms of reducing thermal loads against the main existing design methods in use today. Studies looking at the iterative capabilities of this method and user interactions with a tool created based upon this method are also included. This thesis culminates in a design project set just north of Civic Plaza in Albuquerque, New Mexico to explore the potential for the Vector Method to create design solutions that perform and support a design intent for an architectural project in physical context. This thesis innovates the shading device design process by combining foundational works of Olgyay and parametric analysis abilities of Rhinoceros and Energyplus to inform data driven design decisions. The workflow presented in this paper will demonstrate optimization of fixed shading devices for cooling and heating loads while providing multiple aesthetic options by not limiting the shading device typology in the beginning of the process. This workflow produces iterations that perform similarly in terms of energy savings so that a designer can select a shading device based on other criteria such as aesthetic concerns or constructability issues. The user can move between different shading typologies and add their own creative, artistic interpretations, while not being required to run many simulations after each design change. This paper will present how a tool based process can be agile enough to handle frequent design changes. This paper will demonstrate a process that is more in-line with the building design process and can facilitate more creative, innovative, design solutions based on performance criteria such as reducing heating and cooling loads. Foundational works by Victor and Adler Olgyay are taken to establish existing shading device design principles. Works such as Design with Climate and Solar Control and Shading Devices, form the initial effort to design shading devices that respond to the character of the project and also perform quantitatively. The logic behind the process the Olgyay brothers layout is of particular interest. Works such as SHADERADE: Combining Rhinoceros and EnergyPlus for the Design of Static Exterior Shading Devices (2011) by Sargent, Niemasz, and Reinhart looks at a variant of a cell based analysis method to create shading devices. Various works by Robert Woodbury are taken into consideration to inform how a useful parametric design structure should be created and implemented.

Full thesis book.