Dr Ding Wen 'Nic' Bao is a Lecturer in Architecture (a.k.a., Assistant Professor, tenured) and Architecture Technology Stream Coordinator at the School of Architecture & Urban Design, RMIT University as well as a Key Member & Researcher at the Centre for Innovative Structure and Materials, School of Engineering, RMIT University. Recently he has also been appointed as a Visiting Professor in Civil Engineering at Shenzhen University, working on the Key Research Program "New Biomimetic Sustainable Ocean Floating Structures" from 2022 - 2025 and an Affiliated Researcher in the BioInspiration Research Initiative at the University of Melbourne since 2018. Nic used to teach at the University of Melbourne, Monash University and Tongji University as a sessional lecturer. His research explores design methodologies for establishing a complementary relationship among architecture, computational design, structural engineering, behavioural algorithms, robotic fabrication, additive manufacturing, and intelligent construction.
Nic is a practising architect with over ten years of professional experience; he holds Australian Registered Architect (ARBV, RAIA), US Registered Architect (NCARB) and UK RIBA Chartered Architect. He used to work for several Tier 1 Australian architecture firms as a project architect, including Bates Smart, Fender Katsalidis, Billard Leece Partnership with Cox Architecture, Noel Robinson Architects and Architectus, also partnered with McBride Charles Ryan Architects (MCR), Denton Corker Marshall Architecture (DCM) and LAB Architecture on several International competitions & projects. Currently, Nic is the Director & Principal Architect of BDW. Architects - Studio Nic Bao in Australia & Wonderform (万象建筑) in China, Director & Co-Founder of FormX Technology and Partner of Ameba Institute of Engineering Structure Optimisation.
Nic completed his PhD in Civil Engineering at the RMIT Centre for Innovative Structures and Materials, School of Engineering and PhD in Architecture - Pratice-Based Research at the School of Architecture and Urban Design, RMIT University, where he received the full PhD scholarship & engineering top-up scholarship award. His thesis is "Performance-driven digital design and robotic fabrication based on topology optimisation and multi-agent system". Nic holds the Master of Architecture from the University of Melbourne and his Bachelor of Architecture from RMIT University in 2012. He used to study at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, China), Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, UPC (Barcelona, Spain) and Tsinghua University (China) as an exchange student. In 2020, Nic gained the Graduate Certificate of University Teaching from the School of Education at the University of Melbourne. Currently, Nic is an MBA candidate at the School of Business and Law at RMIT University, where he studied on Steve Ashton Scholarship (supported by Steve Ashton, Director of ARM Architecture).
Nic is also a committee member of the Australian Institution of Architects (AIA) – Education Committee and Design Technology Advisory Group to the National Practice, as well as an officer/committee member and Chair of the award at the Association for Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia (CAADRIA) and DigitalFUTURES Association. He is a core member of the organizing committee of DigitalFUTURES International conferences (2020 - 2023) and the IASS 2023 Annual Symposium. He is also an editorial board member of two high-impact international journals, including Sustainable Structures journal (IF10.9) and Architectural Intelligence journal (Springer). He was invited to lecture at the University of Melbourne, Monash University, Deakin University, Tsinghua University, Tongji University, Florida International University, Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) Shenzhen, Swinburne University of Technology, University of New South Wales, Universita Di Pisa, Shenzhen University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The University of Newcastle, Warsaw University of Technology, UCL Bartlett, ETH Zurich, Southeast University, etc. In addition, Nic ran 9 workshops at international conferences including DigitalFutures, CAADRIA, SIGraDi and IASS Masterclass.
Nic has published over 30 articles, including high-impact journal papers, book chapters and conference papers. Nic’s work has been exhibited widely, and which is recognised at the national and international levels, including Hong Kong BoDW 2019, Shanghai DigitalFutures Exhibition 2019 - 2022, Barcelona IASS Expo 2019, Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture (Shenzhen-Hong Kong) 2019 & 2023, Melbourne Design Week 2020 - Future Prototypes Exhibition, Melbourne Design Week 2021 - Printed Tectonics Exhibition, Melbourne Design Week 2022 - Weaving Tectonic Exhibition, 17th Venice Architecture Biennale Italian Pavilion in 2021, National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), Melbourne Design Fair in 2022, Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show (MIFGS 2023), etc.
Recently, Nic received the first prize in the 3rd National Competition on Aerospace Structure Optimization & Additive Manufacturing (hosted by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation) in 2019; the first prize in the 5th International 3D Printing & Design Competition (hosted by China National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Center) in 2020; the International award for the most influential digital tool of the year from DigitalFuture Coding Award (Ameba Team) in 2020, RMIT HDR Discipline Prize & Certificate of Excellent Awards (the award is based on the quality and quantity of Scopus-indexed papers published and research impact) in 2020, Young CAADRIA Award (Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia) in 2021, Eureka Award for Acceleration in Innovation and Entrepreneurship 2021, International MUSE Design Awards (Interior Design) in 2021, RMIT Prize for Research Impact - Design in 2021, and Grand Prix Du Design Paris - Gold Award in 2021, IAI Design Awards - Digital Architecture in 2022, Victorian Premier Design Awards Finalist (supervisor) in 2022 and A'Design Awards in 2023
Nic has embarked on a new journey in architectural (engineering) technology. He is continuously seeking to uncover new architectural methodologies and thoughts instead of the possibilities of theories and realities. Nic is exploring the internal and external implications of generative design & digital fabrication in the current scene, and he is hoping to share his affinity for all things digital in architecture, engineering technology, and science.