David Zhai

David Zhai


Director of Design & User Experience


New York City

David Zhai is a co-founder and the Director of Design and User Experience at CO-Office, a spatial design consultancy based in New York City working at the intersection of live, work, and play. David leads research, strategy, and design for collaborative work environments, experiential retail, hospitality, and community-driven residential projects.

Prior to this role, David Zhai was the BIM and computational technologies lead for the design of World Trade Tower 2 at Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), where he also led research and development in virtual reality.

David is a recipient of the Graham Foundation grant on his research into company and organizational culture and its effects on workplace environments, domestic life, and urban transformation.

David holds a Master’s of Architecture from Columbia University GSAPP, where he was the recipient of the Kinne Fellowship Award, the Lowenfish Memorial Award, and the Design Excellence Award, and where he has taught in the Master’s program since 2012.

Articles featuring David

UX for Space: Creating Meaningful Engagement through Data-Driven Design

David and Simon founded CO-Office in New York City with an aim to improve client engagement in the ­project process. Their design approach is bottom-up and not top-down, similar to User Experience design. With an emphasis on collecting quantitative data to support their design intuition, CO-Office proves that good Design is also good business.

The Archipreneur Report #01 is out now

The AEC industry is on the cusp of a technological transformation which will reshape its future. Over recent decades, the traditionally structured attitude of the architecture and building industry has stunted its growth and natural tendency to explore new territory as innovative thinkers and city shapers. The Archipreneur Report focuses on new trends, business and […]

Products featuring David

Report #01

Sensors for Cities
Architects as Inventors
UX for Space

In our first Archipreneur Insights issue we present several founders and industry leaders who are paving new ways of professional practice which creatively combine their architectural skillset with intersecting fields.

Quotes from David

  • "You can’t deny the collaborative and the productive value of having other minds think about the same problem."
  • "I think this project is a good example of how a different design process can positively affect the end product, and how understanding human behavior and patterns, can create opportunities for smart design."
  • "I wish I could see design and business together in a sentence more often."
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