Chen Zhang Design Portfolio

MFA Thesis

Design an immersive visiting experience for modern architecture. 


Problem Statement

Immersive Visit Experience across different devices

In 2012, I did this half-year thesis project for my Master degree. 

My core design concept is to design an immersive digital visiting experience for the First Unitarian Church at Rochester, New York. 

Louis Kahn's Legacy

Louis Kahn is one of the most influential architects in the last century, and his design is always marked with organized alignment, non-hiding weights and materials.  In my opinion, his works is classic, systematic but mysterious beyond modernism. First Unitarian Church at Rochester is considered as "the most significant works of religious architecture of the century" by critics. 

Throughout my thesis process, I tried to keep my digital design aligned with Kahn's architecture legacy. 


Users & Audiences 

Architecture and design professional, students and enthusiast 


Solution & Design Process

I started with researching about Kahn's career and architecture works, and built a mood board based on that. In 2012, responsive design and HTML5 embedded video technology were really the industry hot trends, so I tried to code some early prototypes to test the experience across different device platforms (desktop, tablet and phone). 

After the prototype concept was tested well, I went to the church to do a few on-site field trips. Then I designed the video flow map and website IA diagram based on the church floor plan. 

As the vision of the project was to provide an immersive experience, I decide to keep the visual design style simple by replying on bold and modern typography and stunning architecture photos. Therefore, I borrowed a Canon 5D Mark II from my photographer friend to shoot all the photo and video resources.

The responsive design coding process is done all by myself with HTML5, CSS3 and some JS libraries.  


Design Impact

My design project was selected as part of the the MFA Thesis Show 2012 at RIT.    

The church committee reviewed my work and decided to include my project in the official church website. 


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