Tilted Deck. Design Build in China

Ming Tang, Yingdong Hu advised a group of BJTU students to participate in the “Xinzhaiping” Rural Design-Build Competition in China in 2021.

Project name: Titled Deck. 

BJTU Students: Bingxu Gao, Zhu Chen, Xiangyu Zhou, Haolong Guo.

Advisors: Yingdong Hu (BJTU), Ming Tang (UC)

Location: Hunan Province, China.

More info on the competition “2021乡见新寨坪·乡村建造大赛”


The build project won second place in the Rural Design Build competition 2021.

The build project also won the excellent award of the 19th 2021 Asian Design Awad.


paper @ NCBDS

Paper “Interstitial Latency in Design-Build Architecture Education” by Ming Tang, Whitney Hamaker, Yingdong Hu is published n the NCBDS 2022 conference proceedings. April 1-2, 2022. Municie, Indiana.

National Conference on the Beginning Design Student 37 (NCBDS 37)

This paper presents two design-build projects that encapsulate a two-phase process broadly outlined as “design and build.” The collected work spanned multiple seminars and studio courses at the University of Cincinnati, Beijing Jiaotong University, and Nanchang University. Both projects progressed from client proposals, concept design, detail development, construction documents, scheduling, coordination and culminated in a series of completed constructions. The paper illustrates the latent discoveries and learning that occurred in these design-build projects through the more blatant lenses of the design process by serving as both architects and builders. The first project consists of six multi-level steel and wood structures, including three short-term residences, a tea house, a bathhouse, and an observation tower coupled with extensive landscape development. The second project is a public restroom. Both projects are sited in rural villages in China.

First, we describe the design stage, where the conceptual models were generated with the local context, community issues, and proposed architectural interventions. The concepts are represented through digital models. These designs were later developed into physical mockup models without a reference to the craftsmanship required of the onsite build process. As a result, the drawings and mockup models serve as the immaterial representation of form but do not fully define the materials and strategy necessary for full-scale making. The intangible form of the virtual model carries in the early the design information and intent from the conceptual design forward to the following phases.

In the build stage, students participated in the manifestation of the immaterial through onsite construction, experiencing first-hand the transformative potential of a series of diverse activity-based programmatic structures in a rural community. This phase emphasized the construction and exploration of craftsmanship with local resources and materials, producing an outcome that stimulated new activities in the village. By immersing students in the complete design-build cycle, the projects demonstrated the power and possibility of interstitial spaces between phases in the design process.

Students were empowered to consider the various responsibilities architects, engineers, and builders provided in practice. This pedagogical method actively questions where the latent effects of translation between immaterial and material can be learned from both architects and builders. Simultaneously, the projects engaged in a large-scale rural revitalization effort, providing an alternative paradigm for redevelopment. A downstream effect of the teaching methods contributes to the discourse surrounding revitalization and growth in rural communities by exploring a path to instigate positive change through a synthesis relationship of architects and builders.




project featured at the UC News

Our book “Architectural Interventions. Design-build collaboration on the global scale” project is featured at the UC News, an article titled “New Book: UC architecture students collaborate, compete internationally, Global design-build competition inspires book about UC-Beijing collaboration” By Joan Luebering.

Check out the full interview at UC News at–uc-architecture-students-collaborate-compete-internationally.html

An international experiential learning project from the pre-pandemic spring and summer semesters of 2019 is still bearing fruit with the publication this summer of “Architectural Interventions: Design-Build Collaboration on the Global Scale.”

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.