YAN Chao

Assistant Professor

Room 402, Building C, CAUP, Tongji Univ.

Research Fields

  • Agent-based Computational Design, Behavioral Performance, Modular Fabrication

Research Profile

  • YAN Chao received his Bachelor of Architecture from Harbin Institute of Technology and Master of Architecture from Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), and later completed a PhD at Tongji University. Previously he was a visiting lecturer at China Academy of Art from 2014 to 2018, a postdoctoral researcher at Tongji University from 2019 to 2021 (winner of Shanghai Excellent Postdoctoral Researcher Program), and a visiting scholar at University of Virginia in 2019. His research focuses on agent-based system and embodied behavioral performance within the context of digital design and fabrication. He published more than 30 papers and 6 books; participated in Venice Architecture Biennale, Shenzhen/Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale, Shanghai Urban Space Art Season, Shanghai Biennale, and many other exhibitions at home and abroad. As a member of the DigitalFUTURES Organizing Committee, he has been organizing workshops, conferences, exhibitions, and publications over the years.

Grants and Awards

  • Shanghai Excellent Postdoctoral Researcher Program, 2019-2021

  • “Research on Digital Design and Construction Techniques based on Traditional Material”, NSFC China General Program, 2016-2018 (PI: Philip F. Yuan)

  • “Research Center on Digital Construction Technology”, Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (PI: Philip F. Yuan)

  • “Research and Demonstration of the Intelligent Robotic Construction System for Building Engineering”, Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality, 2018-2020 (PI: Philip F. Yuan)

Current Courses

  • Advanced Debates on Theory, History and Methodology of the Digital in Architecture (seminar)

  • Digital Design Frontiers (seminar)

  • Introduction to the Digital in Architecture (seminar)

  • Design Fundamentals II (Design Studio)

  • Design Fundamentals III (Design Studio)

  • Thematic Design Studio II (Design Studio)

  • DigitalFUTURE Summer Workshop (workshop)


  1. Matter Aggregation (ORO Editions / Tongji University Press, 2021)

  2. Digital Nature: Decoding Zhang Zhoujie Digital Lab (Tongji University Press, 2019)

  3. Chao Yan, Philip F Yuan. Beyond Embodiment: An Existential Project of Digital Tectonics in the Post-humanist Discourses[C]. Proceedings of the CAADRIA 2021 Conference, 2021(03): 91-100.

  4. Chao Yan. A Hybrid Creativity in Architecture: From Brain Plasticity to Augmented Design Intelligence[M]//Philip F. Yuan, Mike Xie, Neil Leach, Jiawei Yao, Xiang Wang edit. Architectural Intelligence. Springer, 2020(09): 75-84.

  5. Philip F Yuan, Chao Yan*. Collaborative Networks of Robotic Construction[J]. Architectural Design, 2020(03): 74-81.

  6. Chao Yan. Real Virtuality in the Process of Digitally Embedded Perception[C]. Proceedings of the CAADRIA 2018 Conference Volume 1, 2018(05): 91-100.

  7. Chao Yan, Philip F Yuan. Spherical Perspective--Notational Drawing System for non-Euclidean Geometry[C]. Proceedings of the Computer Aided Architecture Design Future 2017 Conference (CAADFutures 2017), 2017(07): 259-275.

  8. Philip F Yuan, Hua Chai, Chao Yan*, Jinjiang Zhou. Robotic Fabrication of Structure Performance-based Timber Grid-shell in Large-scale Building Scenario[C]. Proceedings of the Association for Computer Aided Design In Architecture 2016 Annual Conference (ACADIA 2016), 2016(10): 196-205.