Center Spotlight: Xiaoshi Wang

Headshot of Xiaoshi Wang.

Xiaoshi Wang’s first impression of the United States was the bustle of the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport in New York City. As he rode through the “city that never sleeps,” he observed that the city was the perfect home for architects. “Architects never sleep, either,” Xiaoshi said. “There is always chance to polish designs further, so we work endlessly until the last minute.”

Xiaoshi grew up in northeast China, where major cities across the country were undergoing massive urbanization. Much of this construction, alongside his love for drawing and sketches, inspired Xiaoshi to study architecture at Tongji University. It was after his undergraduate education that Xiaoshi traveled to the U.S., where he received a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and a Master of Design from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD).

“The further along I went through my studies in architecture, the more I started to see the limits of the architectural domain, and the more I wanted to try to break through our present limits and further develop the field – namely, through the building environment, sustainability, and energy consumption,” Xiaoshi said.

Xiaoshi presents at a conference.

Today, Xiaoshi is happy to be in Cambridge. As a present PhD Candidate of Architecture Technology at the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), Xiaoshi’s work focuses on indoor air flow analysis using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and machine learning, which he describes as “outside of the traditional domain of architectural design.”

As part of his PhD work, Xiaoshi also serves as a teaching fellow (TF), connecting with students to support them in computational design and building science courses at the GSD. Though he finds that helping students reach their goals is extremely satisfying, his favorite part about his present role is his flexibility in his research.

“My dissertation was born out of an idea from my Master of Design degree. With the flexibility given to me to propose my own idea and plan my project, I have been able to challenge traditional understandings about using machine learning models that predict indoor airflow distribution, and I have seen real improvement as a result of my work,” said Xiaoshi.

Xiaoshi Wang stands in a field.

When he is not working on CFD or coding, Xiaoshi can be found cooking Chinese cuisine, reading about world history, skiing, or mountain climbing. Though his post-graduation plans are not yet set in stone, Xiaoshi is sure to expand the boundaries of what architectural study can be, and the impacts it can have.

“I believe that the field of architectural design can be extended further through indoor environment simulation and advanced building control,” said Xiaoshi. “The work of the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities demonstrates great ambition in this direction.”