Rod Tian

Rod Tian

Design Consultant


Q. How long have you been working in design and where did you start?

A. I have taken 5 years to complete my bachelor’s degree in architecture and 2 years to obtain a master’s degree in architecture with honours. I started my design career at a family-oriented architectural practice in Henderson, Auckland and have been focused on delivering high-quality residential projects since then. I have worked for them for 1.5 years before joining PDI.


Q. What design has made a lasting impression on you?

A. It has to be my master ’s thesis. My thesis design was focused on resolving issues due to global warming and sea level changes by applying the protocell and parametric design. The core of the design is to predict the future/tectonic changes of an existing man-made island with the application of the protocell to the island.

The protocell is an artificial cell that can be engineered with certain characteristics in the laboratory. The growth process of the protocell that is applied to the chosen site for my thesis design resembles the calcification of coral reef in the sea. With the application of the protocell, the island will start growing vertically and forming spaces for residents when the island submerged in the sea. Ultimately, a synthetic living structure will be formed on top of the original man-made island and achieve the coexistence of all functions needed by humans.


Q. Favourite project you have been part of?

A. It must be Free Market + Teaching Fairyland and Synthetic Living structure.


Q. Favourite design and why?

A. It might sound a little bit “greedy”, but I am fascinated by most of the projects of Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid’s as each of their projects is based on individually different parametric design logic that I can form my own parametric design language by learning from and have progressively pushed the boundary of and encouraged the development of parametric design.


Q. Most influential designer to you?

A. Can I nominate three? They are Tadao Ando, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid. Tadao Ando helped me with the understanding of the natural environment in architecture; Frank Gehry emphasised materiality; Zaha Hadid defined parametricism in her own word.


Q. What’s your best design lesson?

A. My best design lesson is inspirational life experiences.