Dingliang Yang

Assistant Professor, Architecture

Dingliang Yang is an architect, urban designer, and the founding partner of VARI Design, a pioneering design firm that was established in 2015 and has dedicated to cross-scale innovative design based on critical research as responses to different urban issues during cities’ developments and regenerations. His design and built works have received various awards and have been widely published internationally in media including Archdaily, Dezeen, Archinect, Gooood, Architect MagazineArchitectural Review and many others, as well as exhibited in Venice Biennale, Beijing International Art Biennale, Beijing Design Week, China International Architectural Decoration and Design Art Fair, Shanghai Urban Space Art Season, and Architecture and Los Angeles Design Museum. Before founding his own practice, Yang previously worked as an architect with SOM in San Francisco and at Coop Himmelb(l)au in Vienna.

As a scholar and educator, he is the author of multiple books, including the award-winning book Urban Grids: Handbook for City Design (ORO Editions, 2019, with Joan Busquets and Michael Keller), Osaka: World Expo as Urban Transformative Engine (Harvard, 2021 / Shinkenchiku, forthcoming), and Shanghai Regeneration: Five Paradigms (AR+D, 2016, with Xiangning Li and Xiangming Huang). His most essays are featured in CITY, EL CroquisMechanics in EngineeringTime+ Architecture, Architecture Journal, Common Frameworks: Rethinking the Developmental City in China (Harvard, 2016), and Cities and Urban Plans in the 21st Century (AMB, 2014).

He is the curator of the first Chongqing International Creative Week in 2018 and have curated exhibitions about his design and research works at the Shenzhen-Hong Kong Biennale, Cooper Union Gallery, UT Austin Mebane Gallery and Harvard Drucker Gallery as well as in Barcelona Disseny Hub and throughout China. He is a frequent lecturer at institutions worldwide, having delivered guest lectures at UC Berkeley, UCLA, Politecnico di Torino, UT Austin, Tsinghua University, Tongji University, Zhejiang University, Boston Society of Architects and Harvard Business School.

Since 2018, Yang has been researching the design of World Exposition/World's Fair as an experimental field of architecture and urbanism. As an outcome, the two-volume publication Expos as Great Urban Projects is expected to be published (ORO, 2023). He has been recently elected to the board of the USA Minnesota Expo 2027 bid commission, which as the United States' national bid to host Expo 2027.

Prior to joining the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, he has taught at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design from 2018 to 2022.

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Doctor of Design, Harvard University — Graduate School of Design

Master of Architecture in Urban Design with Distinction, Harvard University — Graduate School of Design

Bachelor of Architecture with Highest Honor of Chu Kochen Medal, Zhejiang University — College of Civil Engineering and Architecture

Selected Scholarship

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  • Expos as Great Urban Projects (ORO Editions, forthcoming) with Joan Busquets and Michael Keller
  • Between the Past and Future: The Transformation of the Pearl River Delta (Springer, forthcoming)
  • Osaka: World Expos as the Engine for Urban Transformation (Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 2021) with Joan Busquets and Yuki Takata, ISBN: 978-1-7369421-1-6
  • Urban Grids: Handbook for City Design (ORO Editions, 2019) with Joan Busquets and Michael Keller, ISBN: 978-1-940743-95-0
  • Shanghai Regeneration: Five Paradigms (Applied Research+Design Press, 2016) with Xiangning Li and Xiangming Huang, ISBN: 978-1- 939621-61- 0
  • Cities and Urban Plans in the 21st Century: Understanding the New Dynamic and Urban Planning Instruments (AMB, 2014) with Joan Busquets and Santiago Orbea, ISSN: 92339-8914

Book Chapters

  • “Designing China’s Rural Transformation”, featured in Common Frameworks: Rethinking the Development City in China, ed. by Christopher C. M. Lee (Harvard University Press, 2016), PP226-242
  • “Xiamen: A City of Three Types”, featured in Common Frameworks Part 1 Xiamen: The Megaplot, ed. By Christopher C. M. Lee (Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 2013), PP66-77

Journal Articles

  • City as Subject for Design Research, in Architecture Journal, (peer reviewed, forthcoming March, 2022) Urban Design from the Perspective of Grid, in Time+Architecture, (2018) 03, PP140-143
  • In the Era of Technology and New Media, Conversation with Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample, in El Croquis, Chinese Edition (2016) 184, with Yao Xiao, PP2-15
  • Language and Text, Game, Environment and Cultural Materials: Reading Amid.Cero9, in EL Croquis, Chinese Edition (2016) 184, with Yao Xiao, PP16-19
  • Design and Production of Wind Power Generation Tower Model, in Mechanics in Engineering, 2010 32(6), with Yaoxiao, Xiang Song and Shice Yu, PP96-99

Studio Reports

  • Xiamen: Merging Urban Development and Natural Landscape (Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 2022), ISBN: 978-1-7369421-2-3
  • Shanghai: Large Scale Projects To Create New Centralities (Applied Research+Design Press, 2021), ISBN: 978-1-7369421-0-9
  • Zhengzhou: From A Rail-City to A Metro-Polis (Applied Research+Design Press, 2019) with Joan Busquets, ISBN: 978-1-941806-78-4
  • Savannah: Rethinking the Multi-Scalar Capacity of the City Project (Harvard University and Mariscal, 2018) with Joan Busquets, ISBN: 978-1-532362-89-7
  • Chongqing: Searching for Regularity as A Transformative Model in the Design of the Contemporary City (Harvard University and Mariscal, 2018) with Joan Busquets, ISBN: 978-1-532362-88-0
  • Hangzhou: From Canal Grid to Maxi-block (Applied Research+Design Press, 2016) with Joan Busquets, ISBN: 978-1-939621-54-2


  • Regular City: Construction of Ideas Past and Future, Curator, in Cooper Union Gallery (New York, NY), Mebane Gallery at the University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX), Kirkland Gallery at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Shenzhen Hong Kong Biennale (Shenzhen, MA)
  • Megastructuring Chongqing: in A Global Dialogue with Cities Worldwide, Curator, in ArtDepot Center (Chongqing, China)
  • Life, Dream and Architecture in Countryside, Curator, Anze Art Biennale (Anze, Shanxi, China)
  • New Issues for the Future of the City, Curator, Druker Design Gallery in Harvard GSD, Cambridge (MA), Shanghai Urban Space Art Season (Shanghai, China)
  • Barcelona, Metropolis of Cities, Executive curator, Disseny Hub/Design Museum of Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain)
  • Chongqing: In Search of Domestic Super-structure, Curator, Chongqing Planning Exhibition Hall (Chongqing, China)
  • Zhabei New Gateway: Designing a New Global Centrality for Shanghai, Curator, Dean’s Wall, Harvard GSD (Cambridge, MA)
  • Think by Hands, Curator, History Museum of Zhejiang University (Hangzhou, China)


  • ARCH 8255 Graduate Architectural Design
  • ARCH 5410 Topics in Architectural History
  • ARCH 4410 Topics in Architectural History

Selected Honors and Awards

  • John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize, 2021
  • Second Prize, International competition for urban design and conceptual architectural design of R06-1 Plot of the Microelectronics Kechuang Street of National Western Science City, 2021
  • First Prize, Invited competition for Yuelai Design Park, 2021
  • Second Prize, International competition of architectural design for Liangjiang Collaborative Innovation Zone, 2021
  • First Prize, Invited competition for Beijing Jinzhan International Cooperation District, 2020
  • Prize for the best book in Reference & Scholarly 2020, 48th Annual Book Show of the Publishing Professionals Network, 2020
  • First Prize, “Greenway to Ideal City” International Competition for Jincheng Park, 2019
  • Second Place, Invited international competition for Shaoxing University Campus Masterplan, 2018
  • Architizer A+ Award, Finalist in Architecture+Renovation Category and Architecture+Learning Category: Hundun University Education Center, 2018
  • Architecture Masterprize, Honorable Mention in Architectural Design: The Ryde Civic Center, 2018
  • First Prize, Invited competition for Shanghai United Nation Sustainable Urban Development and Livable Garden Community, 2017
  • First Prize, Urban Design for Chongqing Luzu Temple Commercial District Redevelopment, 2016
  • First Prize, Urban Design Shanghai: International Urban Design Competition for Shanghai Railway Area, 2016
  • Urban Planning and Design Thesis Prize, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 2014
  • Paul M. Heffernan Fellowship, 2013
  • Chu Kochen Medal & Chu Kochen Scholarship, Zhejiang University, 2012

Dingliang Yang

Dingliang Yang


145 Rapson Hall
89 Church St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
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