2013 Conference


CAMBRIDGE, ONTARIO October 24-27, 2013
University of Waterloo / SUNY Buffalo / University of Nottingham

Submissions are invited for the 2013 ACADIA Adaptive Architecture conference at Waterloo Architecture in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada on October 24-27, 2013. Architects, designers, fabricators, engineers, media artists, technologists, software developers, hackers and others in related fields of inquiry are invited to submit proposals.

Adaptation is a quality of living systems. Adaptation can include evolution in response to new conditions, and it can also involve resistance to change. How might we more precisely simulate, visualize and represent the dynamics of open systems? What are useful models for emulating living systems and ecologies? The contemporary information environment of distributed and mobile computing provides opportunities to develop new and subtle relationships between people and the built environment. How might architecture better anticipate and adapt to user and social needs? These emerging ecologies increase architecture's capacity to be more responsive to its inhabitants as well as the natural environment. How might passive, low energy systems offer alternatives to power consuming responsive systems? What tools, materials and assemblies might we use in designing for adaptation? What new industrial and manufacturing possibilities might emerge?

Adaptive Architecture will focus on the computational design of environmentally responsive, intelligent, interactive, and reconfigurable architecture. Research papers and exhibition submissions are invited across a range of topic areas that include distributed interactive systems, complex and generative systems, standards of passive and active design, and performance implications of sustainable architecture.

Advanced computational design methods, building information modeling, and digital fabrication workshops will precede the conference event. Full research papers, short work-in-progress papers, and juried design and research posters will be presented. Work-in-progress presentations will be enriched by mentoring and structured feedback. Student submissions are especially encouraged, supported by an award program and travel and accommodation subsidies. The event will be enriched by curated projects including publications on emerging teaching models for complex systems and adaptive architecture, exhibition of architectural prototypes, and installations by visiting student teams.

Conference Location

The School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo is located in Canada's 'Silicon Valley', one hour west of Toronto and two hours from Buffalo, with direct connections to Pearson International Airport. The gathering will be in a cluster of historic buildings beside the Grand River, near beautiful forests, marshlands, and the Niagara Escarpment.

Who Can Submit?

Submissions are invited from specialized researchers, practitioners, students, and members of the public interested in the computational design of architecture. In addition to architecture and urban design, submissions can include the disciplines of science and art, engineering and design.

Submissions are invited in the following forms:

a) Full peer review:

  • Full Papers: 4,000 words max (Presentations ± 15 mins)
  • Short Papers (Work-in-progress): 2000 words max (Presentations ± 7 mins)

b) Jury selection:

  • Research Posters
  • Design Posters

c) Student funding proposals from visiting school teams

Selected research will be published by ACADIA and Riverside Architectural Press.

Student participation is strongly encouraged for all submission categories. Awards for student submissions, a scholarship and travel subsidy program, and a free billeting program for students will be announced in the coming months.


Research submissions are invited that focus on the role of computation in architecture, planning, and building science, and that pursue innovation in design creativity, sustainability, and education. Paper submissions can include the following topics:


  • Simulation, collaboration and generative tools
  • Human/Computer Interfaces


  • Responsive environments; distributed controls, sensing, actuation and feedback
  • Digital fabrication and robotic craft
  • Hybrid structural systems
  • Synthetic construction: composite materials, smart assemblies, material analysis


  • Complex systems in design; emergent and self-organizing systems
  • Environmental adaptation, passive systems
  • Energy and performance modeling, structural analysis


  • Participatory design
  • Social media and gaming


  • Social and cultural implications of computation and cybernetics
  • Contemporary and historical approaches to adaptation


  • Computational design methodology
  • Curriculum models

Important Dates

  • Peer-reviewed Research Papers submissions due: April 24, 2013 (Note, changed from April 10, 2013 due to strong popular demand)
  • Research and Design Poster submissions due: May 17, 2013
  • Revised submissions due (for proceedings): late June, 2013

The ACADIA event builds on the first Adaptive Architecture Conference held at the Building Centre, London, Spring 2011 ( 2013 Co-Chairs are Philip Beesley (University of Waterloo), Omar Khan (University at Buffalo, SUNY) and Michael Stacey (University of Nottingham).

For more information please e-mail: