Ganapathy Mahalingam

Professor of Architecture

Phone: 701-231-8615


Ph.D. in Architecture, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA (1989-1993)

M. Arch., Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA (1985-1986)

B. Arch., University of Madras, Madras, India (1978-1983)

Research and Interest:

Dr. Mahalingam is a registered architect in India, who also has over 25 years of experience in the field of computer- aided architectural design, and has served as the President of the Association for Computer-aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA). Dr. Mahalingam has completed significant research for his doctoral degree, and added an original body of knowledge to the architectural profession, which involved the creation of software for the design of proscenium-type auditoriums based on object-oriented computing technology.

Selected Publications and Recent Research:

"The Search for Intensional Form," in The Fantastic and the Constructible, the 2008-2010 form.Z Joint Study Journal, Volume 17 of the Partnerships in Learning Series, published by auto.des.sys Inc. (2010)

"Discovering Computational Structures," published in caadfutures 2007, Andy Dong, ed., Andrew Vande Moere and John S. Gero, Springer, Dordrecht, Netherlands (2008) 

"Improving 'Objective' Digital Images with Neuronal Processing: A Computational Approach," co-authored with Dr. Rajesh Kavasseri, International Journal of Architectural Computing (2004) 

"Model Behaviour" in Intelligent Build and Design Innovations by Cornhill Publishers of the UK (2004) 

"POCHE: Polyhedral Objects Controlled by Heteromorphic Effectors," CAAD Futures, by Bauke de Vries, Jos van Leeuwen and Henri Achten, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht (2001) 

"Binary Oppositions: Will Computers Be Able To Design As Well As Human Designers In The Foreseeable Future," ACADIA Quarterly (2000) 

"Design and Construction in the Future," Web-based Stanford-Berkeley CE&M workshop on "Defining a Research Agenda for AEC Process/Product Development in 2000 and Beyond" (1999) 

"Representing Architectural Design Using Virtual Computers," Automation in Construction (1998) 

"Object-Oriented Computer-Aided Design Systems for the Preliminary Design of Auditoria," Journal of Architecture and Planning Research (Autumn 1996)


Registered architect in India 

(Council of Architecture Certificate of Registration No. CA/1984/08805)

Professional Memberships:

Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA)

Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA)

American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) (2001-2003)

Northern Plains Ethics Institute (NPEI) 

Member of the Advisory Committee for Exhibitions, Plains Art Museum, Fargo, North Dakota. (1997-1999)

Teaching Experience:

Professor, North Dakota State University, 2014-present

Associate Professor, North Dakota State University, 2002-2014

Assistant Professor, North Dakota State University, 1993-2002

Instructor, Iowa State University, 1986-1987


Special Mention Award at the fifth annual Architizer A+Awards, in the Apps and Digital Tools category for the Auditorium Design System app (2017)

Ask Me

Who are your role models or inspiring folks?

In the field of Computer Science, it was Alan Kay, who had a significant impact on my doctoral work and my development of technologies for computer-aided architectural design.  In Philosophy, it was the ancient Indian philosopher, Adi Shankaracharya, who still continues to be an influence and a spiritual guide. In Architecture, Louis Kahn and Tadao Ando led me to appreciate the mysteries of light. In Music, Bach Schubert, Pink Floyd, Weather Report, the Beatles and Pandit Jasraj, lifted my spirit. In Art, the painters Kandinsky, Klee and Miro set the poetic undertones for my approach to art. In Poetry, the lyrical poets, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Longfellow and Shelley, gave me my sense of cadence and rhyme. Overall, in all my pursuits, I was blessed with the tenacity and love I imbibed from my parents.


Outside of art and design fields, what inspires you?

Philosophy has been a lifelong interest of mine, along with the multiplicity of creative vision that spills over from Architecture, Art, Music and Poetry. For my constant tinkering, Computation has made me sharp and fruitfully occupied.


What do you wish you had known when you started out as a student/in this field?

I wish I had known how things of value are decided in Architecture.


What was your most memorable meal? 

We were on a bus tour of North Dakota for new faculty members at NDSU, when we stopped at a casino on an Indian reservation. There we had one of the most memorable buffet meals that casinos are often famous for providing. The process of discovering North Dakota, and the hunger it creates, made the meal very memorable.


In your office, you can only have three things, one book, one tool, and one picture. What would they be and why?

It would be the book Atmabodha by Shankaracharya, my Pilot V5 fine point pen, and the proverbial blank sheet of paper, to drift off into dreamscapes.

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