Nancy Cheng MArch '90

Associate Professor Nancy Yen-wen Cheng, RA, LEED AP has taught sustainable architectural design and digital methods at the University of Oregon since 1996,  and directed the Oregon Architecture Department’s Portland Program 2009-2013.  She researches how tools and approaches shape the design process, focusing on digital tools as a source of innovation and cultural change.  Her Shaping Light project explores how physical prototyping and digital methods can be combined to foreground material properties in design, using tactile processes for creative engagement and computation for refinement.  She examines how shading devices with undulating surfaces can create dynamic visual interest while blocking the sun’s heat and glare.  In 2014, she gave lectures and workshops in China, Germany, Australia and India and worked with RMIT University’s Spatial Information Architecture Lab in Melbourne on developing methods for understanding the cooling potential of folding surface structures.

Nancy Cheng has taught architecture studios from first year basics to capstone thesis projects.  Her design studios typically connect students to local community situations and examine how social interaction can be seeded amid natural and urban systems.  As a University of Hong Kong faculty member 1993-’96, she developed Virtual Design Studio global collaborations with former Harvard classmates inspired by Professor William J. Mitchell.  She continues to use Internet technology to enhance learning and expand the classroom.  She has fostered international opportunities by organizing exchanges with Shanghai Xian Dai Architectural Design Group and the University of Hong Kong and by directing Oregon’s Rome Architecture and Urban Design program.

She has been Association of Computer Aided Design In Architecture (ACADIA) President, AIA Technology in Architectural Practice national Chair, and an International Journal of Architectural Computing editor.  She will be receiving an ACADIA Society Award of Excellence in October 2014.