Texas A&M University  -  School of Architecture

Wei Yan, Ph.D.

Director of PhD & MS Research Programs
Professor, Department of Architecture
Mattia Flabiano III AIA/Page Southerland Page Design Professor
Student Government Association Open Educator
Presidential Impact Fellow, Texas A&M University
Associate Director, TITIL
Co-Founder, BIM-SIM Group

Email: wyan 'at' tamu.edu
Office: Langford A 406
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/@brickxar8890


Best Paper Award in the 11th International Conference on Learning and Collaboration Technologies / HCI International 2024 based on our NSF RETTL project!

Newly published research on AR and AI in Energy and Buildings, Automation in Construction, Building and Environment, IEEE CASE, IEEE FIE, and IEEE VR, HCII, etc., 2023

NSF I-Corps grant for BRICKxAR technology commercialization research, 2022

US Patent Granted for Innovative Technologies in AR-Powered Assembly!
(USPTO Patent No. 11393153)

Best Paper Award in the 9th International Conference on Learning and Collaboration Technologies / HCI International 2022

Texas A&M receives $3.74M for green, 3D-printed hempcrete buildings research

STEM For ALL Video Showcase 2022

Our interdisciplinary team is awarded 2021
NSF RETTL Grant for our AR and AI research

Accurate AR instructions for small and tiny parts assembly!
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10055-021-00582-7 or https://rdcu.be/czd4Z

Dr. Wei Yan, Director of PhD & MS Research Programs in Department of Architecture, Mattia Flabiano III AIA/Page Southerland Page Endowed Professor at Texas A&M University, with expertise in Computational Methods in Architecture, Augmented Reality, AI, Building Information Modeling, Parametric Modeling, Simulation, and Optimization. He has led research projects funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Autodesk, Inc., etc. and co-led NSF, DOE, ASHRAE, etc. projects. He received the Best Paper Prize in Design Computing and Cognition 2006 and the Best Paper Award in Conference on Learning and Collaboration Technologies / HCI International 2022. He was named a Presidential Impact Fellow in 2017 and a recipient of the Student Government Association Open Educator Award in 2019, both at Texas A&M. Yan was educated at the University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D. in Architecture and M.S. in Computer Science), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich (Nachdiplomstudium - Postgraduate Studies in Computer-Aided Architectural Design), and Tianjin University (M.E. in Architectural Technology & Science and B.E. in Architecture). In 2012, he was a Guest Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and a Visiting Professor at Stanford University. In 2007, he received NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant.


"Holding" both physical and virtual airplane models in hand! February 2, 2022.


• Taught courses in the multidisciplinary areas of Architecture, Visualization Science, and Computer Science.
• Developed new graduate courses on design computing

Undergraduate courses

1. ENDS 170 - Computer Technologies for Design Visualization
2. ENDS 370 - Virtual Architecture
3. ENDS 489 - Special Topics in Game Prototypes
4. ENDS 116 - Foundations of Design Communication

Graduate courses

1. VIZA 654/CPSC 646/CSCE 646 - The Digital Image
2. VIZA 627 - Computer Graphics Production Studio (with Dr. Fred Parke and Reel FX Creative Studio, Summer 2007)
3. ARCH652 - Facility Information Technology
4. ARCH689 - Special Topics in Building Information Modeling
5. ARCH653 - Building Information Modeling in Architecture (New course created in Fall 2010)
6. ARCH689 - Parametric Modeling in Architecture
7. ARCH655 - Parametric Modeling in Design (New course created in Fall 2014)
8. ARCH669 - Foundations of Research in Architecture (Research Methods)
9. ARCH681 - Seminar (Augmented Reality, AI, and Computational Methods in Design, new focuses developed)


Selected Grants / Funded Projects

PI, NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Teams Grant: Augmented Reality-Powered 3D Interactive Instructions, $50,000. Project period: November 2022 - October 2023. Team: Wei Yan (PI and Technical Lead), Seda Tuzun Canadinc (Architecture Ph.D. Student and Entrepreneurial Lead), and Chris Scotti (Industry Mentor, TAMU Innovation Partners). https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=2242432  

Co-PI, Hempcrete 3D Printed Buildings for Sustainability and Resilience, with Petros Sideris (PI), Maria Koliou (Co-PI), Zachary Grasley (Co-PI), Anand Puppala (Co-PI) and Manish Dixit (Co-PI), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) Harnessing Emissions into Structures Taking Inputs from the Atmosphere (HESTIA) program, $3,742,496. Award #DE-AR0001628. Grant Period: 2022-2024. https://engineering.tamu.edu/news/2022/06/cven-texas-am-receives-374m-for-green-3d-printed-hempcrete-buildings-research.html

PI, Using Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence to Improve Teaching and Learning Spatial Transformations in STEM Disciplines, with Heather Burte (Co-PI, Psychological & Brain Sciences), Dezhen Song (Co-PI, Computer Science), Philip Yasskin (Co-PI, Mathematics), Francis Quek (Co-PI, Visualization) and Jeffrey Liew (Co-I, Education), and Graduate Research Assistants Zohreh Shaghaghian (Architecture), Shu-Hao Yeh (Computer Science), etc. Research on Emerging Technologies for Teaching and Learning (RETTL), National Science Foundation (NSF), $849,971. Award#2119549. Grant Period: 2021-2024. https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=2119549

PI, Sustainable Building Design with Building Performance Simulation. Received research funding as gifts from Perkins and Will, with Fatemeh Shahsavari (Graduate Researcher), $74,947, Spring 2020- Summer 2021.

PI, Secure Technologies for Aggie Researchers (STAR) fund for research using cloud computing, sponsored by the Texas A&M University – Division of Research, $5,000. Project Period: 2021.

Co-PI, Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Characterizing and Modeling Human Behavior from Visual Media. T3: Texas A&M Triads for Transformation, President's Excellence Fund, Texas A&M’s Division of Research (DOR), with Dixit, M. (PI) and Fields, S. (Co-PI), $30,000. Grant Period: 2021-2022.

PI, Augmented Reality-Powered Assembly, Translational Investment Fund, Innovation Partners, Texas A&M University, with Song, D. (Co-PI). $60,000. Project Period: 10/1/2020-10/31/2021.

PI, AI-Powered Augmented Reality for Advancing Human-Computer Interface in Assembly Tasks, Innovation [X] program, Texas A&M University, with Song, D. and Dixit, M., (Co-PIs). $20,000. Project Period: 9/1/2020-8/31/2021.

PI, Brick by Brick: Augmented Reality-based Making and Gaming for Teaching Creativity and STEM, PTTG – Presidential Transformational Teaching Grants, Texas A&M University, with Song, D. (Co-PI). $60,000. Project Period: 1/13/2020-1/12/2022

PI, A Web-based Parametric BIM Viewer for Online Collaborative Parametric Design Presentation and Optimization (Phases 1 and 2), with Mohammad Rahmnai Asl (Consultant). Autodesk Forge Research Grant, Autodesk, Inc. $10,000. Grant Period: 2016-2018.

PI, Analyzing and Documenting BIM-based Building Performance Analysis Software & Building Performance Analysis and Optimization, with Mohammad Rahmnai Asl (Graduate Researcher). Autodesk, Inc. $114,502. Grant #467061. Grant Period: 2013-2015.

PI, Physical Building Information Modeling for Solar Building Design and Simulation, with Clayton, M. (Co-PI) and Haberl, J. (Co-PI). Environmental Sustainability Program, Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET), National Science Foundation (NSF), $300,000. Award#0967446. Grant Period: 2010-2015.

PI, Physical Building Information Modeling for Solar Building Design and Simulation, with Clayton, M. (Co-PI) and Haberl, J. (Co-PI). Supplemental Grant - Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), Environmental Sustainability Program, Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET), National Science Foundation (NSF), $16,000. Grant Period: 2013-2015.

Senior Personnel and Steering Committee Member, RCN-SEES: Predictive Modeling Network for Sustainable Human-Building Ecosystems (SHBE), with PI: Tao, Y., Co-PIs: Zhu, Y., Cartes, D., Tolone, W., and Lam, K.P., and Senior Personnel: Hadzikadic, M., Feiock, R., Thompson, R., Spiegelhalter, T., Menassa, C. and D’Souza, D. National Science Foundation (NSF), $652,846.00. Award#1338851. Grant Period: 2013-2020.

Co-PI, Enabling Partnerships to Enable Science ("TOOLS"): anyFish: a User-Friendly Software Package for Creating Realistic Animations for Animal Behavior, with Rosenthal, G. (PI) and Johnson, J. (Co-PI). Early Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) Program, Division of Biological Sciences (BIO), National Science Foundation (NSF), $300,000. Grant Period: 2010-2012.

Co-PI, Development of a Reference Building Information Model (BIM) for Thermal Model Compliance Testing, with Clayton, M. (PI) and Haberl, J. (Co-PI). The American Society Of Heating, Refrigerating, And Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), $175,311. Grant Period: 2009-2011.

PI, Design and Analysis of Ice Thermal Storage Buildings Using Building Information Modeling, $60,000. (Subcontract of project: Use of Ice Thermal Storage Systems to Improve LWR Plant Efficiency and Relieve the Cooling Water Requirement, Zhao, H. (PI), Zhang, H. (Co-I), and Yan, W. (Co-I). U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Lab Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Grant, Idaho National Laboratory, $200,000.) Grant Period: 2009.

PI, High Dynamic Range Imaging for Preserving the Chromaticity Information of Architectural Heritage, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant, $30,000. Grant Period: 2007-2009.

PI, Integrating Video Tracking and Virtual Reality in Environmental Behavior Study: An Interdisciplinary Approach, Program to Enhance Scholarly and Creative Activities, Office of the Vice President for Research, Texas A&M University, $10,000. Grant Period: 2006-2007.

Other Projects

Participant, New generation computational tools for building and community energy systems based on the Modelica and Functional Mockup Interface standards, International Energy Agency (IEA) EBC Annex 60, with PI: Wetter, M., and other participants.


Google Scholar
(English, 中文, 中文繁體, Española, 한국인, 日本語, Italiano, Deutsch, Français, Türkçe, Русский, हिंदी, Português, عربي, Ελληνικά, فارسی, Nederlands, dansk, svenska, Suomalainen, українська, bahasa Indonesia)

Patent Granted

Systems and Methods Performing Object Occlusion in Augmented Reality-based Assembly Instructions,
USPTO Patent No. 11393153. Issue Date: 07/19/2022. Assignee: Texas A&M University System. Inventor: Wei Yan.


Selected roles

• Invited Grant Review Panelist, National Science Foundation
• Invited Ad Hoc Grant Reviewer, National Science Foundation
• Invited Grant Reviewer, Austrian Science Fund
• Invited Grant Reviewer, Hong Kong Research Grant Council
• Organizing team for five workshops/symposium sponsored by National Science Foundation
• Local Arrangement Chair and Paper Committee Co-Chair for research conferences.
• Associate Director, CRS Center for Leadership & Management in the Design & Construction Industry, 1/2016 - present
• Chair (2017), Co-Chair (2016), Member (2013-16) Promotion and Tenure Committee, Department of Architecture, Texas A&M University
• Board of Directors (2010-14), Membership Officer (2011-14): Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA)

Ph.D. Advisor and Ph.D. & Master's Students Graduated

Ph.D. Advisor: Dr. Yehuda Kalay

Ph.D. Students Graduated

Wei Yan as Chair
WoonSeong Jeong, Assistant Professor at Chungbuk National University, Korea
Mohammad Rahmani Asl, High Performance Building Design Researcher at Autodesk
Zhouzhou Su, Senior Associate, EYP 
Jawad Altabtabai, Assistant Professor at Kuwait University
Emad Al-Qattan, Assistant Professor at Kuwait University
Shermeen Yousif, Assistant Professor, Florida Atlantic University
Fatemeh Shahsavari, Research Analyst, Sustainable Building Design, PERKINS+WILL
Mohammad Al-Awadhi, Assistant Professor at Kuwait University
Ziad Ashour, Assistant Professor at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
Zohreh Shaghaghian, PassiveLogic
Seda Tuzun Canadinc

More complete list as Chair/Co-Chair

Master's Students Graduated

Wei Yan as Chair
Mohammad Alawadhi (Ph.D. student, Texas A&M University)
Seda Tuzun Canadinc (Ph.D. student, Texas A&M University)


Selected Awards/Honors/Scholarships

Best Paper Award in the 11th International Conference on Learning and Collaboration Technologies / HCI International, Washington DC, 29 June - 4 July 2024

Best Paper Award in the 9th International Conference on Learning and Collaboration Technologies / HCI International 2022, 26 June - 1 July 2022

Alternate for the SXSW 2020 Innovation Awards - XR Category (https://www.sxsw.com)

SGA Open Educator Award, from the Student Goverment Association at Texas A&M University, 2019

One of selected "Tianjin University Architecture Alumni" (since 1977) , School of Architecture, Tianjin University, featured in World Architecture magazine《世界建筑》, Tsinghua University Press, Vol. 05, 2017, ISSN1002-4832

Presidential Impact Fellow, Texas A&M University, 2017
University announcement and College news

American Institute of Architects (AIA) Latrobe Prize Finalist (with Dr. Lou Tassinary and Dr. Charles Culp), 2013

Best Paper Prize - Yan, W. and Kalay, Y.E. "Geometric, Cognitive, and Behavioral Modeling of Environmental Users", in Design Computing and Cognition '06, Ed. Gero, J., Springer; The Second International Conference on Design Computing and Cognition (DCC'06), Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands, 10-12 July 2006.

Keynote Speech, "Parametric Modeling and BIM: Teaching and Research", in The 8th Conference on Digital Technologies in Architectural Education and International Symposium on Digital Architecture Design, China, August 24, 2013.

Appreciation Certificate for serving the Board of Directors, 2010-2012, Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA), presented during 2012 Annual Conference on October 19, 2012 by ACADIA President.

Outstanding Reviewer awarded by Automation in Construction (Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands), November 2014. "In recognition of the contribution made to the quality of the journal."

Outstanding Reviewer awarded by Energy and Buildings (Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands), December 2016. "In recognition of the contribution made to the quality of the journal."

Graduate Scholarships, University of California, Berkeley, 1999-2003
Scholarship for postgraduate study, ETH Zurich, 1997-1998


Project BRICKxAR: Augmented Reality for LEGO® Construction with iPhone®
LEGO Arc de Triomphe Speed Build with AR

Publicationhttps://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10055-021-00582-7 or https://rdcu.be/czd4Z


BRICKxAR 是一种新颖的增强现实 (AR) 搭建说明书,适用于 LEGO® 等建造玩具。使用 BRICKxAR,实体乐高积木由虚拟积木指导搭建。与现有技术相比,通过全新的基于标记的配准设计,显著提高了虚拟与实体模型对齐的准确性,可实现整个模型的平均误差小于1毫米。实现了真实物体遮挡以揭示实体砖块和虚拟砖块之间的真实空间关系。也实现了乐高玩家的手部侦测和遮挡,将真手与虚拟积木的正确空间关系可视化,让虚拟积木被真手“抓住”。该研究的主要发现是:这些功能的集成使得小部件组装的 AR建造说明书成为可能。通过乐高凯旋门的AR 构建说明书以及配准和遮挡精度的定量测量验证了所提出的方法。此外,对 BRICKxAR 各特征的启发式评估发现,本方法可以在指导建造过程中增强部件可见性、确保透视图及空间变换中实体和虚拟部件的对齐、显示虚拟剖视图等。

Models by students in my Parametric Modeling and BIM classes

Bird Nest modeled using Rhino/Grasshopper by Yan Lu in ARCH689 Parametric Modeling

Bird Nest modeled using Autodesk Revit by Jason Minter in ARCH653 Building Information Modeling, 2011

Travels to the Bird Nest before and after the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games

Photo on the left credit: Prof. Guillermo Vasquez de Velasco

Working in my mini-CAVE. T-shirt designed by my classmates at ETH Zurich in 1997 (website then), when we were learning AutoLISP!