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William Hailiang Chen

William is a lecturer on BA (Hons) and MArch Architecture at Norwich University of the Arts. William is a visionary artist, architect, researcher and educator active in the UK and China. He has been the creative force behind many prestigious projects and buildings worldwide working for several world’s leading architectural practices, particularly rich experiences on sports, hospitality and mixed use architecture He is co-founder and director of Creative Prototyping Unit, a multidisciplinary design studio based in London and Beijing. He has taught MA postgraduate course at Southeast University in China.

I started my career training as an artist at Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts before pursuing 5 years architectural studies at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. I have worked for world’s leading architectural practices including Wilkinson Eyre Architects, Populous, Foster and Partners on many prestigious projects worldwide. I was key member of design team for Guangzhou IFC Tower (439m) and involved with the design of London 2012 Olympic Stadium from inception to completion. Other notable projects include new generation of apple stores, Apple Campus 2 project in Cupertino.

Apart from large scale projects experiences, I have been experimenting on some small-scale art installation projects. In 2017, I co-founded Creative Prototyping Unit, a multidisciplinary design studio seeks to develop a trans-disciplinary discourse in the intersection of art, science, technology and cultural consciousness research. The renowned projects are ResoNet Series which have claimed many awards. In April 2022, CPU Studio has been ranked in the top 21 Best Architecture Firms in London along with the top firm Heatherwick Studio by Architizer.

As a Research Fellow of AS Research Centre at the Southeast University, I led MArch postgraduate course on the research of sports facilities and urban regeneration. In 2018, I was awarded the Outstanding Teacher Award for my student’s submission at ‘China Habitat Environment Design Academic Year Award’ by the Architectural Society of China.

Moonlight Huotang, Guangxi China 2020 © Creative Prototyping Unit

Selected Honours & Achievements

  • 2022.01, ‘ResoNet Pavilion’, Asian Design Prize in Space/Architecture category
  • 2021.07, ‘Moonlight Huotang’, Architizer A+Design Awards Special Mention in Unbuild Cultural category
  • 2021.04, ‘Moonlight Huotang’, Bronze A’ Design Award in Cultural & Heritage category
  • 2018.12, Outstanding Teacher Award, ‘China Habitat Environment Design Academic Year Award’ by the Architectural Society of China
  • 2017.10, ‘ResoNet Pavilion’, Hongkong A&D Trophy Award 2016-2017 in Architecture – Best Pop-Up category
  • 2017.06, ‘ResoNet Pavilion’, IDA Bronze Award 2016-17 in Architecture Exhibits, Pavilions and Exhibitions category
  • 2017.04, ‘ResoNet Pavilion’, Gold A’ Design Award in lighting products and lighting projects design category
  • 2017.04, ‘ResoNet – Baitasi’, Bronze A’ Design Award in lighting products and lighting projects design category
  • 2007.10, ‘ResoNet’ competition entry awarded First prize in ‘Bright LED’ international competition co-organized by Design boom and Gwangiu Biennale Foundation, Korea. Entrants were required to show experimentation and innovation
  • 2006.10, ‘Reef Surface Mobile Islands’, First prize in ‘Environmental Tectonic Competition v2.0’ held by AA School
  • 2006.06, ‘Reef Surface Mobile Islands’ Highly Commended in International Concrete Design Competition 2006
  • 2004.09, Alvin Boyarsky Scholarship awarded by AA School
  • 2002.06, Nicholas Boas Travel Scholarship – residence at the British School at Rome

Selected Exhibitions

  • 2017.01, ‘ResoNet Pavilion’ a temporary interactive lighting installation in Sinan Mansion, Shanghai China
  • 2015.04, ‘ResoNet – Baitasi’ in Beijing Design Week, China
  • 2010.04, ‘ResoNet-Bloom’ exhibited at Luminale Biennale 2010, Frankfurt, Germany
  • 2008.06, Curator for ‘Cutting Edge’ paper cuts event for V&A ‘Friday Late: Beijing’, part of ‘China Design Now’ event in V&A Museum, London
  • 2007.09, ‘ResoNet’ an interactive light installation for FRED07-Europe’s largest festival of site-specific art event, Cumbria, UK (with Mark Tynan and in association with Arup)
  • 2007.06, ‘As Much As You Like’ – installation in Get It Louder 07, China; in collaboration with artist Dr. Andrew Pok Chong Boon
  • 2003.11, ‘The Discerning Eye’, two photos selected for group show at the Mall Galleries, London
  • 2003.03, ‘The Penetration of Light’, solo photography exhibition at AA School photo library

Selected Publications

  • William Hailiang Chen and Prof. Hua Li, ‘Sports Facilities and Urban Regeneration Studies’, Urban Flux, 2022 September; 15(3), Vol.69: 45-49. (CN11-3909/J and ISSN 1008-2832)
  • William Hailiang Chen (ed.), Adaptive and Dynamic Design of Sports Architecture, Urban Flux, 2022 September; 15(3), Vol.69 (CN11-3909/J and ISSN 1008-2832)
  • William Hailiang Chen, ‘ResoNet Pavilion – Sinan Mansions’, Urban Flux, 2022 July; 15(2), Vol.68: 42-47. (CN11-3909/J and ISSN 1008-2832)
  • William Hailiang Chen, ‘Resonet responds to vibration stimuli by sparkling in Beijing’, featured at Designboom, 2015 October
  • William Hailiang Chen, ‘ResoNet -Baitasi’, Professional Lighting Design (German magazine Chinese version), 2015 December, No.72 (ISSN 1672-9269)
  • William Hailiang Chen, ‘Transformation’, in Yanchuan Liu (ed.), ‘Study Architecture at the Architectural Association’, ISBN 7512317654, 2012 January, 28-39.
  • William Hailiang Chen, ‘Conversation with Ou Ning’, who is the chief curator for 2009 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture, New Architecture (Chinese magazine). ISSN1000-3959, 2009 December
  • William Hailiang Chen, ‘Light Art Installation – ResoNet’, Professional Lighting Design magazine (PLDM), No.67 Jul/Aug 2009. 
  • William Hailiang Chen, ‘Reef Surface Mobile Islands’, in Steve Hardy (ed.), Environmental Tectonics: Forming Climate Change, AA Agendas No.6, ISBN 978-1-902902-64-7, 2008 November.

Selected Lectures & Interviews

  • 2021.06, guest speaker, ‘Adaptive Design strategy for large stadium – London Olympic Stadium and European case-studies’, in ‘Agenda for New Pattern of Sports Stadiums’ – China Sports & Culture Tourism Online Forum, organised by IDG Sports in China
  • 2019.07, guest speaker at ‘Sustainable Practice and Place Making in New Stadium Design – Before VS. After Olympics’ at Roca Beijing Gallery, China
  • 2019.05, guest speaker at ‘New trends in Stadium Design’, iSportconnect 2019 Madrid Summit in partnership with LaLiga
  • 2019.04, guest speaker, ‘Opinions on Accelerating the Development of Sports Industry and Promoting Sports Consumption’, Host City Asia 2019 forum at Four Season Hotel, Beijing China
  • 2018.10, guest speaker, ‘The Football Stadium and Place-making’ at 2018 Asia Sports Venue Expansion Summit, Shanghai China
  • 2017.12, Co-host and organiser for ‘Sport Facilities and Urban Regeneration’ forum, hosted by AS Research Centre at the Southeast University in collaboration with Arcplus Group, Shanghai China
  • 2013.01, Interview by BBC Chinese, part of Series of Study in UK by Zichuan 29th Jan 2013 in London
  • 2012.08, Interview by Xingtao News paper (version in Europe) about London 2012 Olympic Stadium
  • 2012.08, Interview by Xinhua News Agency about London 2012 Olympic Stadium
  • 2011.02, guest speaker at the House of Lords, UK Parliament for the Bridge London Event by Philip Dodd, director of Made in China
  • 2010.04, guest speaker at ‘Pecha Kucha Night’ @Luminale 2010 organised by Deutsches Architektur Museum (DAM), Frankfurt Germany

Committees and Academic Activities

  • 2020- 2022, Beijing Lead, RIBA China Chapter Committee
  • 2020- present, Visiting Lecturer, Central Academy of Fine Arts, China
  • 2019- present, member of the Architectural Society of China Sports Chapter
  • 2017- present, Research Fellow/Unit Leader for MArch postgraduate Course, AS Research Centre, Southeast University
  • 2012- present, RIBA Chartered Member
  • 2012- present, Member of Architects Registration Board
ResoNet Pavilion, Sinan Mansions in Shanghai, China 2017. ©Image by Steven Chang
See more of William’s work on his website (opens in a new window)