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Shifan Deng, Assoc. AIA: Member Profile

Shifan Deng, Assoc. AIA is a Technical Designer at Gensler. He has always been interested in drawing and chose architecture as his major during undergraduate school in Beijing. After finishing his five-year bachelor’s degree, he continued studying at UC Berkeley and pursued a master’s degree. 

My experience attending UC Berkeley for my Masters in Architecture really broadened my horizon because I not only took courses but also taught undergraduate students during my first year. The differences in education between Beijing and Berkeley made me learn a variety of diverse design approaches. That summer I won ZGF’s summer internship and scholarship and after, was offered a one year internship with UNStudio, which was one of my favorite firms at that time. I decided to take a year off of school to accept the offer from UNStudio, in order to gain more experiences before earning my masters. My new journey had started.

The internship was divided into two parts, half the year in Shanghai and other half in Amsterdam. I appreciated the intense work in Shanghai where I picked up many new skills. I also had an amazing trip in Europe where I experienced numerous architectural masterpieces in-person. During that year, I worked on multiple projects in China and Europe, learning the difference between eastern and western culture in architecture. I developed a special interest in architectural digital tools.  With access to parametric tool tutorials and learning techniques from talented colleagues, I made a lot of progress in digital design approach. When the holidays came, I went on architectural tours to different countries with my colleagues; the splendid architecture and wonderful scenery encouraged me to create better work.

I came back to school with one year of working experience under my belt and finishing my master’s degree. I took on the role of Technical Designer at Gensler and kept exploring my own architectural path. I treat digital tools application as my expertise. I now try to solve traditional questions in a more advanced and efficient way and even started an AIA CES course at Gensler to share my knowledge of Grasshopper to colleagues.

I believe diversity in education and working experience drive me to think differently when facing a variety projects in the design process. Knowledge of digital tools helps me generate solutions in a cross-disciplinary way. I appreciate all the opportunities and resources that I have and will contribute more energy and passion into innovations in the architecture field.