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  • Design Across Boundaries: Synthesis of Process and Place in China

Design Across Boundaries: Synthesis of Process and Place in China

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Wednesday, December 13, 2023 | 1pm ET

This course, as part of the AIA Committee on Design’s “Design Across Boundaries” series, explores the work of ArchiUnion across multiple localities in China. The work of ArchiUnion investigates how design, materiality, and construction relate to one’s place, suggesting a nonlocal image view that integrates global theories and technologies into local tradition, redefining and even upgrading the production process of traditional rural construction. The studio has taken advantage of a parametric design process including robotic fabrication and has embraced machines into practice as a collaborative partner to enhance both efficiency and craft.

Learning Objectives


Be inspired to consider new approaches from abroad that can be applied to architectural projects in your own localities and communities. 


Learn about challenges in fast-developed economies and construction climates in China, and how new technological and collaborative design approaches can enhance social performance in rural communities. 


Learn how parametric digital processes through material specific applications can help meet structural, code, and sustainability challenges while producing a profound dialogue with the urban context. 


Discover how synthesis of place, materiality, and cultural history can improve the physical, emotional, and social well-being of a community. 



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Craig Brandt is an architect and educator based in Chicago and Chair of Programs for the AIA Committee on Design. He has guided the design and execution of collaborative public projects with a focus on sensitive adaptation and sustainability, and has participated as design critic, lecturer, and moderator internationally. His various activities promote a wide gamut of design excellence and preservation with leadership roles in the American Institute of Architects and Docomomo US. He is a member of the Society of Fellows at the American Academy of Rome, a General Services Administration (GSA) National Peer, and serves as adjunct professor at the University of Notre Dame and University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

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Philip F. Yuan is a professor at the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University, Thomas Jefferson professor at University of Virginia (2019), the visiting professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2019), and Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (2021). He is also the co-founder of DigitalFUTURES Association, Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Intelligence journal, and council member of UIA Professional Practice Commission (PPC). In 2023, Philip was awarded Honorary Fellowship (HFAIA) in the American Institute of Architects. His firm, Archi-Union, is known for combining global trends in architecture and the local traditional approach. Archi-Union’s has completed a diverse array of project types which have been reported by many international and national architectural design media, such as T+A, UED, UA, Arquitectura Viva, Abitare China, AD China, Dezeen and Archdaily.