Nancy Yen-Wen Cheng 
Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, 1206 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403-1206 USA  
nywc at uoregon dot edu
A c t i v i t i e s   T e a c h i n g Updated Winter'13 R e s e a r c h  R e s u m e   L i n k s 



Nancy Yen-Wen Cheng, RA, NCARB, LEED AP
Associate Professor & Director, Portland Architecture Program

Portland Program Director and Associate Professor Nancy Cheng's fascination with how individuals think and interact has driven her design research and teaching. She studies how tools and approaches shape the design process, focusing on digital technology as a nexus for innovation and cultural change. She is interested in maximizing creative engagement through intuitive processes such as sketching and refining ideas through computation. To research this design process, she is currently using digital fabrication to generate light and shadow effects, developing the architectural application of lasercut and folded materials for dynamic sun-shading screens. Previously, she focused on drawing as a source of insight into design thinking using a pen that stores stroke-by-stroke animations.  She used the animated sketches to reveal the processes of abstraction, problem-framing and design decision-making.

Within the Portland program and architectural design studio scenarios, Cheng seeks to create more effective processes and more sustainable places which positively enhance group dynamics. She is intrigued by how people interact with tools and environments and how these interactions can shape an individual’s ability to observe and function. Due to her interest in how community can be fostered, her students have worked with five Oregon intentional communities to envision sustainable housing and common facilities.  Her work with online communities started in the 90's, when she connected architecture students from Asia, Europe and North America in Virtual Design Studios.  From 2008-2011, she worked with the Inter/National Coalition for Electronic Portfolio Research on using Web 2.0 tools to support development of student reflection and communication skills.

Cheng is the Vice-President of the Association of Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) 2011-13 and was President from Oct 2009-2011. She chaired the national American Institute of Architects' Technology in Architectural Practice group in 2004, co-chaired a Fabrication conference in Toronto and edited issues of the International Journal of Architectural Computing.

Cheng has taught architectural design and computer methods at UO since 1996. She previously taught architecture at the University of Hong Kong '93-'96 and worked for Boston architectural firms such as Kallmann, McKinnell and Wood and Raphael Moneo. She earned a bachelor's degree with honors from Yale University and a master's degree from Harvard Graduate School of Design.


University of Oregon Architecture Dept

Univ of Oregon School of Architecture & Allied Arts