Paper in CAAD Future Conference

Paper “Social distancing and behavior modeling with Agent-based simulation” is accepted to the CAAD Future 2021 conference and inclusion into the CAAD Futures 2021 Springer Proceedings.

Presentation. 16 – 18 JULY 2021.


The research discusses applying agent-based simulation (ABS) technology to analyze the social distancing in public space during the COVID-19 pandemic to facilitate design and planning decisions. The ABS is used to simulate pedestrian flow and construct the micro-level complexity within a simulated environment. This paper describes the various computational methods related to the ABS and design space under the new social distancing guidelines. We focus on the linear phases of agent activities, including (1) environmental query, (2) waiting in a zone, (3) waiting in a queue, and (4) tasks (E-Z-Q-T)  in response to design iterations related to crowd control and safety distance. The design project is extended to the agents’ interactions driven by a set of tasks in a simulated grocery store, restaurant, and public restroom.  We applied a quantitative analysis method and proximity analysis to evaluate architectural layouts and crowd control strategies. We discussed social distancing, pedestrian flow efficiency, public accessibility, and ways of reducing congestion through the intervention of the E-Z-Q-T phases.  

Keywords: agent-based simulation, social distancing, crowd control

Figure 3.  Agent density and space proximity map. ABS without social distancing vs. with social distancing rules. Each agent’s autonomous “action” lies in modifying its movement based on its rules and environment. Top. Floor plan and interior perspective of a check-in area of a restaurant. Middle: proximity map without social distancing. Bottom: proximity map with 2-meter social distancing with the same number of agents in the same given time. Notice the hot waiting areas’ issues are replaced with a larger waiting area, while some agents choose not to walk in the restaurant after EQ. Right. Compare the number of occupancies. Red: agents with social distancing. Blue: agents without social distancing.

This research was funded by UC Forward, as a part of the Price Hill project at UC.

Book Chapter: Cyber-Physical Experiences

Book Chapter

Turan Akman, and Ming Tang. Cyber-Physical Experiences: Architecture as Interface

in the book Virtual Aesthetics in Architecture: designing in mixed realities. Routledge, 2021.

Virtual Aesthetics in Architecture: Designing in Mixed Realities presents a curated selection of projects and texts contributed by leading international architects and designers who are using virtual reality technologies in their design process. It triggers discussion and debate on exploring the aesthetic potential and establishing its language as an expressive medium in architectural design. Although virtual reality is not new and the technology has evolved rapidly, the aesthetic potential of the medium is still emerging and there is a great deal more to explore.


Cyber-Physical Experiences: Architecture as Interface

Turan Akman [STG Design] and Ming Tang [University of Cincinnati]

Conventionally, architects have relied on the qualities of elements, such as materiality, light, solids, and voids, to break away from the static nature of space and enhance the way users experience and perceive architecture. Even though some of these elements and methods have helped create more dynamic spaces, architecture is still bound by the conventional constraints of the discipline. With the introduction of technologies such as augmented reality (AR), it is becoming easier to blend digital and physical realities and create new types of spatial qualities and experiences, especially when this is combined with virtual reality (VR) early in the design process. Although these emerging technologies cannot replace the primary and conventional qualitative elements in architecture, they can be used to supplement and enhance the experience and qualities architecture provides.

in order to explore how AR can enhance the way architecture is experienced and perceived and how VR can be used to enhance the effects of these AR additions, the authors have proposed a hybrid museum in which AR is integrated into conventional analog methods (e.g. materiality, light) to mediate spatial experiences. The authors also created a VR walkthrough and collected quantifiable data on the spatial effects of these AR additions to evaluate the proposed space.

Check more info at Chapter 9 | Cyber-physical experiences

Book: Architectural Interventions

Architectural Interventions. Design-build collaboration on the global scale

Ming Tang, Yingdong Hu, Whitney Hamaker, Edward Mitchell. UC Press. 2021

The University of Cincinnati Press and Library Publishing Services, Cincinnati

ISBN (paperback) 978-1-947603-14-1
ISBN (e-book, PDF) 978-1-947603-15-8

This book discussed the “Design-Build” as an essential topic for architectural education, using the award-winning project “Pear Orchard Cabins” by the University of Cincinnati and Beijing students Jiaotong University as a case study. The book also shared various design-build collaborations related to sustainable design, digital computation and technology, and global practice.


  1. Design-Build in Architecture Education
  2. Learning fromThe Rural Construction
  3. Design-Build Process
  4. Design-Build In The Age of Computation
  5. Design+Build Student Projects


I hope the unique fieldwork experience of the UC and BJTU students and faculty sparks ideas for readers interested in social and sustainable design, as the essay writers in this volume intend. I hope it also inspires other educators, including those in our own universities, to develop further innovative experiences for students and further ways to use digital tools for global teamwork.

Raj Mehta, Vice Provost for International Affairs, University of Cincinnati

Global cooperation in the field of design has become a consensus. To build a sustainable environment, a better planet, and a bright future, global joint efforts in exploration and cooperation are necessary. I hope that the case interpretation, teaching research and experience sharing in this book will be a valuable resource to encourage scholars, educators, and designers to start the dialogue on enhancing our living environment, promoting digital evolution, and investing in sustainable urban & rural development.

Xuedong Yan, Vice President. Beijing Jiaotong University


Thanks to the support from the UC Intentional, UC Press, and the school of Architecture and Interior Design, College of DAAP for book publishing. Thanks to students Lauren Figley, Jordan Micham, Pat McQuillen, Vu Tran, Jeremy Swafford, Tess Ryan, Zhuo Chen, Peida Zhuang, Shurui Li, Zhixuan Li, Yingjie Liu, Zijia Wang, Yuanjia Luo, Wenjun Lin, Yanqi Yi for the design build project in China. Thanks to Dongrui Zhu for assisting book editing and layout.


paper at SIMAUD 2021

Ming Tang, Mark Landis’ paper titled “Fixed shading device design with the performance-based-design and energy simulation” is accepted at The 12th annual Symposium on Simulation for Architecture and Urban Design (SimAUD). 2021

This paper presents a performance-driven design (PBD) tool developed by combining the energy analysis abilities of Ladybug, Honeybee, and EnergyPlus to inform shading device design decisions. Consider architects as the user group, the PBD workflow presented in this paper demonstrates the optimization of fixed shading devices for cooling and heating loads while providing multiple aesthetic options by not limiting the shading device typology at the beginning of the process. The PBD produces iterations that perform similarly, yet effectively, in terms of energy savings so that a designer can design shading devices based on other criteria such as aesthetic concerns or constructability issues. With a customized user interface (UI) for PBD, designers can move between different shading typologies and add their own creative, artistic interpretations while not being required to run complex simulations after each design change. This paper presents how this PBD process with new UI (PBD-UI)  can be agile enough to handle frequent design changes. This method was tested by a group of architectural design students and demonstrated that the PBD-UI is more in-line with the parametric design process than traditional shading device design methods. Combined with parametric design tools and customized UI, it can facilitate more creative, innovative design solutions based on performance criteria such as reducing heating and cooling loads.

The source code and tutorial of the tool are available here.

3D print for cast-in-place concrete

Cast-in-place Freeform Concrete with Big Area AdditiveManufacturing Formwork

Ming Tang, Noah Shroyer. Cast-in-place Freeform Concrete with Big Area AdditiveManufacturing Formwork. International Journal of Architecture, Engineering and ConstructionVol 10, No 2, Vol 10, No 2 (2021) 1-9

Abstract: Parametric design and digital fabrication give precise control in the design and materialization of complex geometric forms. Large-scale additive manufacturing machines can fabricate digitally generated architectural forms quickly and economically at full scale. However, their application in building construction has been limited. Through a case study, this paper examines integrating parametric design with material and constructed reality through 3D printed formwork for cast-in-place concrete. The following details are presented: (1) creating a parametric model capable of designing, testing, and manipulating the customized freeform in response to construction and material constraints, (2) fabrication method of big area additive manufacturing of formwork with carbon fiber-reinforced acrylonitrile butadiene styrene plastic, and (3) construction process (studying material behavior, testing the formwork, and the final onsite concrete cast)

This project was supported by the computation team led by Ming Tang, the design team led by Jose Garcia Design, the structural engineering team led by Pinnacle EngineeringInc, formwork and fabrication led by Cincinnati Incorporated. The project was constructed by the general contractor Jose Garcia Construction. The rebar shop fabrication was provided by Artistic Ironworks.

Video from Cincinnati Incorporated