2013 Conference


ACADIA 2013 ADAPTIVE ARCHITECTURE is offering a wide range of specialized one, two, and three day workshops preceding the Conference from Monday Oct 21 – Wednesday Oct. 23 and following the conference on Sunday Oct. 27. Following the idea of this year's conference theme, workshop offerings cover topics ranging from scripting, simulation of complex systems, and digital fabrication with advanced manufacturers.

Three workshops are specifically directed to students and are being offered at significantly reduced fare on the weekend before the conference (Saturday and Sunday Oct. 19, 20). One is a skill building workshop and the others involve experimenting with new building methods and participating in the building of an installation that will be exhibited for the duration of the conference.

Each workshop has limited space for students at subsidized rates. Students interested in attending workshops should email stating their name, school affiliation and workshop in order to get registered. The reduced student spots are limited and will be given on a first-come first served basis. If you have any questions about the workshops please e-mail the same address as above. Register for the main ACADIA conference by clicking here.

Fabric Concrete Constructions

Instructors: StudioMARS and Michael Stacey Architects
Location: Waterloo Architecture
Dates: Saturday, Oct. 19 –
Sunday, Oct. 20
Cost: $90 (Professionals), $25 (Students)
University of Nottingham logo

Description: Using graphic or drawing techniques deployed by Jørn Utzon to design Bagsvaerd Church (specifically to create its wonderful cloud inspired celestial roof of single curved sprayed concrete) participants will design columns, beams and roofs, parametrically. This will lead to the fabrication of a full scale prototype

Daily activity breakdown:
Day 1, Oct 19:

  • An introduction to Fabric Formwork and Pre Parametric design will be given. Participants will be divided into teams of 5-6 people, led by a prototyper, and roles within the team will be decided.
  • Initial design approach will be discussed and sketched within the team - with design reviews from Michael Stacey.
  • A continuous process of thinking, drawing and making will be encouraged to test and develop ideas. A range of materials and measuring equipment will be available to carry out this process. As a result of this process, a design will be found by the end of the day and the fabrication of the formwork will be complete.

Day 2, Oct 20:

  • The formwork will be installed using materials provided. Workshop facilities will be available, including the use of a laser cutter.
  • The formwork will be checked and the mixing of concrete will commence!
  • Fabric Forming - Teamwork will be required to manipulate the concrete into the formwork and vibrate to remove air pockets.
  • The formed pieces will be left for 2-3 days to cure, the grand un-veiling will be on Thursday 24th October. If you are unable to attend on Thursday, leave your email address and a full record will be provided.

The Rise: CITA Workshop

CITA logo

Instructors: Martin Tamke, David Stasiuk
Material Consultants: LOOP.PH / LONDON
Location: Waterloo Architecture
Dates: Saturday, Oct. 19 – Monday, Oct. 21
Cost: $90 (Professionals), $25 (Students)
Requirements: Interest in making and handling of material, Gloves, Laptop with Rhino and Grasshopper installed (we will send more information before the workshop)

Description: “The Rise” ACADIA workshop will explore the conceptualization, technologies and making of an architecture that is continuously sensing and dynamically adapting to its environment as it grows into form. The workshop is based in a research project into the digital design and fabrication of aggregations of variably sized bundles of fiber material that multiply, bend, branch, and recombine in a distributed assembly that manifests an alternative to traditional structural systems. Workshop participants will get insights into the algorithmic base, the CNC processes and the physical processes in a hands-on way. The workshop will finalize in a full-scale installation at the ACADIA conference at the University of Waterloo in Cambridge.

Daily activity breakdown:
Day 1, Oct 19:

  • Introduction to the concept and context of The Rise
  • Hands-on with the digital growth system
  • Assembly session I

Day 2, Oct 20:

  • Introduction to the computational feedback system and the calibration of the particle based simulation
  • Hands-on with material calibration
  • Assembly session II

Day 3, Oct 21:

  • Assembly session III,IV

Design Computation, Integration and Optimization

Instructors: Patrick Tierney and Zach Kron, Autodesk
Location: Waterloo Architecture, Rm 2019
Schedule: 9-10:30am, 11am-12:30pm, 1:30-3:30pm, 4-6pm
Dates: Tuesday, Oct. 22 – Wednesday, Oct 23
Cost Workshop: $200 (Professionals), $50 (Students)
Requirements: Familiarity with scripting, some Revit/Vasari experience a plus
Autodesk logo

Description: This hands-on lab introduces participants to the fundamentals of scripting and  visual programming within the Autodesk Revit, Vasari and Autocad design environments. Autodesk’s Design Computation group is currently combining the compact, legible, and versatile DesignScript language with the integrated BIM workflows available with the Dynamo visual programming toolset. Participants will understand how to use the powerful scripting engine and drive building designs through an intuitive visual interface.  The workshop provides users with resources and step-by-step examples for automating geometry creation, leveraging cloud and local BIM resources for analysis, and sharing tools with an emerging community of users. +

Daily activity breakdown:
Day 1, Oct 22, Morning: DesignScript and Dynamo: the future of Design Computation

  • DesignScript fundamentals: Language, interaction, geometry
  • Integration of parametric design and analysis
  • Data flow diagramming and ‘node to code’
  • Associative and Imperative language
  • ASM and (proto) geometry
  • Functions and classes
  • [optional] Developing .Net classes
  • Hands on exercises

Day 1, Oct 22, Afternoon: DesignScript discipline specific extensions

  • SmartForm and Robot Plug-in Skype
  • Performative Design [Andrew Marsh]
  • EnergyPlus using spatial building model [Wassim Jabi]
  • Hands on exercises

Day 2, Oct 23, Morning: Dynamo Fundamentals

  • Dynamo interface and dataflow
  • Lists, mapping, math, and data management
  • Geometry, BIM components, and visualization
  • Placing and manipulating components
  • Higher order functions, custom nodes, and file sharing

Day 2, Oct 23, Afternoon:

  • Analysis workflows
  • Using existing BIM tools in a scripted context
  • Making smart components for consumption in Dynamo

Parametric Design through Reality Capture

The Pike Company logo

Instructors: Timothy Porter (PIKE BIM Manager), Melcher Mack (Edge-GTS)
Location: Waterloo Architecture, Rm 2008
Schedule: 9-10:30am, 11am-12:30pm, 1:30-3:30pm, 4-6pm
Dates: Tuesday, Oct. 22 – Wednesday, Oct. 23
Cost: $200 (Professionals), $50 (Students)
Requirements: Some familiarity with GT Digital Project and Revit

Description: This two day workshop focuses on adapting the design process to react to new constraints such as sustainability requirements, adaptive reuse of existing facilities, schedule limitations, and so on. Participants will have the opportunity to acquire real world environmental data in the form of a high density laser scan; then work with that data to propose a façade designed to enhance the aesthetic appeal while being cognizant of the performance. Over the course of two days participants will walk through the entire process from data acquisition, through proposed design reacting to existing environmental constraints, into coordination and analysis.

Daily activity breakdown:
Day 1, Oct 22: Reality Capture - Reacting to the world as it stands
Session 1

  • Presentation/Discussion: HDS data acquisition. Understand the technology, the instruments and how it works.
  • Lab: perform a HDS scan to capture a façade of a building to be fit out with modernized skin to enhance performance.

Session 2

  • Presentation/Discussion: How the conversion works, introduce methods and tools
  • Lab: Convert façade to Revit model to accurately document existing conditions.

Day 2, Oct 23: Changing Practice - Meet the needs with cutting edge design tools
Session 1

  • Presentation/Discussion: Introduce Digital Project as parametric design tool used to quickly iterate and work within the context of the existing armature to fit on.
  • Lab: Use Digital Project to quickly model a parametric form that reacts appropriately to the design criteria for enhancing the performance of the façade.

Session 2

  • Presentation/Discussion: Introduce Navisworks for file integration. See the full process in a single environment for quality control and coordination.
  • Lab: Append all digital files used into a single file set, run clash detection and visual analysis. Apply materials, render daylight impact on interior spaces, and see the impact of new design.

Design for Manufacturability and Constructability: Custom Terra Cotta Façades

Instructors: Mitchell Bring, Peter Schmidt, Andrew Pries, Mike Fritz, Guy Logel
Location: Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Buffalo
6860 South Abbot Road, Orchard Park, New York. Dates: Tuesday, Oct. 22 – Wednesday, Oct. 23
8:30 – 5:00 at Boston Valley Terra Cotta
Cost: $200 (Professionals), $50 (Students)
Requirements: Grasshopper and Rhino 5 knowledge
Note: Transportation will be provided from Buffalo to Waterloo for the conference as part of registration. Participants should get hotel rooms at either the Adam's Mark or Comfort Suites Downtown.
Boston Valley TerraCotta logo

Description: Explore using Rhino 5 /Grasshopper designs to develop Terra Cotta tiles and rain screens for building façades. BVTC is leading American manufacturer of terracotta façade cladding. Participants will be introduced to manufacturing principals of extrusion, modeling and molds and connection systems to better align form generation with manufacturing processes. Workshops will be led by UB Research Faculty and students and Master Sculptors at Boston Valley Terra Cotta. For more info on BVTC's use of computer modeling see:

Daily activity breakdown:
Day 1, Oct 22: Key Manufacturing Concepts

  • Manufacturing Terra Cotta Overview and tour of the Boston Valley Terra Cotta Plant. Terra Cotta Forming Techniques: Extrusion, Ram Press, Slip Cast, Hand Packed
  • Design and Physical Implications for each forming method: Cost, quantity, level of detail, weight, finish, size
  • Finishing: Glazing and Texturing
  • Connection to the building structure: tradition mortar, pining and steel tie backs hole, metal clip systems, precast hybrid (Terra cast)
  • Design Exercise 1: Case Studies: Generate designs for effective manufacture

Day 2, Oct 23: Design Implementation
Design Exercise 2: Design and produce an extrusion segment (finished designs will be router cut out of foam on the 5 axis machine during the afternoon exercise)
Design Exercise 3: Surface tile exercise using Paneling Tools Plugin

Rigidized Metal Forming

Rigidized Metals logo

Instructors: Nick Bruscia, Christopher Romano
Location: Rigidized Metals Corporation Facility / Silo City
658 Ohio Street, Buffalo, New York.
Dates: Monday, Oct. 21 – Tuesday Oct. 22
Cost: $200 (Professionals), $50 (Students)
Requirements: Laptop computer equipped with Rhinoceros 4 / 5, Grasshopper 0.9 (or newest release), and AutoCAD.
Note: Transportation will be provided from Buffalo to Waterloo for the conference as part of registration. Participants should get hotel rooms at either the Adam's Mark or Comfort Suites Downtown.

Description: Investigate the structural and specular qualities inherent in thin-gauge textured stainless steel. Participants will be introduced to the manufacturing and fabrication processes of the material by working closely with fabrication experts at the Rigidized Metals Corporation. The participants will design a mock-up for a folded assembly of up to 5-7 interconnected units, observe the rolling, punching (profile cutting), and folding of the material, and ultimately assemble and install their piece on the exterior of an existing building within Silo City (a collection of historic grain elevators along Buffalo's waterfront).

Daily activity breakdown:
Day 1, Oct 21:

  • Introduction to Rigidized stainless steel (material, process, current research)
  • Design charrette (digital models, paper models)
  • Finished digital models / fabrication drawings

Day 2, Oct 22:

  • Meeting with RMC fabrication team
  • Tour of facility, observation of mock-ups underway
  • Mock-up assembly, on-site (west elevation – American Office Building, Silo City)
  • Reception (American Office Building, Silo City)

Design Analysis and Multi-Disciplinary Optimization

Instructors: Volker Mueller
Location: Waterloo Architecture, Rm 2008
Schedule: 9-10:30am, 11am-12:30pm, 1:30-3pm
Dates: Sunday, Oct. 27
Cost: $100 (Professionals), $25 (Students)
Bentley logo

Description: The workshop aims at reviewing the opportunities of parametric design and integration of analysis using GenerativeComponents with the analysis service framework,integrating structural and energy analysis into the design process. We will discuss addition of other analyses that might deepen understanding of design alternatives; how any parametric design model exploration promotes learning about possible approaches to design solutions; how, therefore, any parametric design model is a sketch –and needs to be readily discarded once it has been exhausted; how multi-objective optimization is a misnomer while it increases learning opportunities beyond any single-objective optimization process; and how all these pieces can contribute to better design solutions when used in the design process in smart ways.


  • Integration of parametric design and analysis
  • Multi-objective optimization
  • Case example
  • Own cases (either as derivative of several provided cases or started pre-workshop based on advance knowledge/training)
  • Discussion and own cases continued
  • Final discussion

Form Follows Functions CANCELLED

Instructors: Edmund Harris, Brian Lockyear, David Celento
Location: Waterloo Architecture
Dates: Sunday, Oct. 27
Cost: $100 (Professionals), $25 (Students)
Requirements: Participants are required to have a working copy or trial version of Rhinoceros 5 (Windows).

Description: In this workshop, we will use Rhino 5 and Grasshopper v 0.9 to consider four different algorithm systems: Weaving, Trees, Spirals, and Patterns, with two detailed exercises involving Weaving and Folding. We will examine the fundamental rules that these systems follow. Time-permitting, we will touch upon Functions, Coordinate systems, Recursion, and Data Handling.