I think he goes by Fred Tang, but on my registration is says Hua Tang, so I've listed both names. The class was very interesting as a whole and if you have the chance to take the class I definitely would for the experience. It forces you to go into the city and go to very interesting exhibits that I would probably otherwise not have seen and you have the opportunity to talk to people who are really top of their field. For example, we went to Pentagram, a design studio that created the logos and branding for companies like Slack, Mastercard, Yahoo, and we went to a theater design studio that work on many Public Theater projects and the Percy Jackson musical that recently was in NY. Additionally we went to museums like MoMA, Copper Hewitt, and had speakers like the former Chief Creative Officer of NYC branding, Willy Wong. Additionally Professor Tang is a working architect, and it's so interesting to talk to people who are largely working outside of academia because they really different perspectives.
In term of Professor Tang as a teacher, I felt he was pretty mediocre. I think he has really interesting things to say about design and you could definitely tell he's intelligent; however, I feel he wasn't the best at facilitating conversation. For one, it didn't really feel like a conversation because it was based in raising your hand and speaking rather than a round table discussion, which in ok, but makes it so each comment is directed at the professor, looking for the teacher's approval rather than just saying what you are thinking. You also could really tell which ones he thought were good ideas and which ones he wasn't a fan of, which again is not that unusual, but for something as subjective as design was often not ideal because I often felt he would disagree with my idea and thus wouldn't say it, which isn't really productive to actual discourse. Finally, I had a lot of difficulty with the final project. Our assignment was to redesign a public place in NYC and incorporate at least 4 time periods, and address a current issue in our futuristic version of the city. He gave a syllabus, but the thing he actually wanted was much more specified and it was confusing because there were people whose projects I thought were beautiful, interesting, and creative and he would tear them down in critiques. Specifically, I felt those who tried hard to make their pieces visually interesting were not really given credit for it, and people who went for jamming as much into their piece as possible even if it made the piece chaotic, were praised. Like it felt like he liked the piece where someone put Jesus in the sky and alien on the highline, or a grandmother doing a handstand on the Vessel better than people who I think did really beautiful creative things with colors for example to portray the different time periods he wanted. I personally went to talk to him in person and emailed him drafts to try to help make my final piece better and more inline with what he was looking for, while still keeping it true to my concept, and it just felt like he wasn't very willing to help improve my concept but wanted something completely different that I wasn't sure how to give without my piece looking like every other piece.
I think the class is worth taking in general and Professor Tang is ok, but not great.