University at Buffalo

University at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY

6th Annual Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop - ACAW2021 Virtual Event

Thu, Aug 19 '219 AM  –  Thu, Aug 19 '214:30 PM

Architectural Workshop Redefines the Future of Terra Cotta Façades The annual event advocates design-assist collaboration to advance new technologies and encourage the use of architectural terra cotta in performative facades.

The sixth consecutive Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop (ACAW) will take place on August 19, 2021, commencing with an opening keynote speech by Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, principals of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects | Partners. ACAW is an industry-academic collaborative workshop hosted by Boston Valley Terra Cotta, with Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture and the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. Its aim is to broaden industry professionals’ knowledge of the performance of terra cotta, encouraging a deeper understanding of manufacturing architectural ceramics that will inform next-generation designs. Guided by terra cotta manufacturers and ceramicists, eight teams of architects, façade engineers, and educators work together over the course of the workshop to share knowledge and gain experience developing terra cotta wall assemblies. Visual mockups – constructed by the teams on-site at Boston Valley – will be virtually presented during the conference. The event is concluded by closing keynote speaker Mic Patterson, PHD and LEED AP+ of Façade Tectonics Institute.

The ACAW 2021 Workshop has brought together preeminent members from architecture and engineering firms around the world. Walter P. Moore and Associates, Inc. is participating in two separate teams – Tod Williams and Billie Tsien Architects | Partners, and a team from Studio Gang, whose members have returned for a second year to continue their explorations. Professionals from COOKFOX Architects and Buro Happold are working as one team. TriPyramid is also on two teams – supporting HOK, Permasteelisa North America, and Josef Gartner; in addition to Architecture Research Office (ARO) and Heintges. Goody Clancy and Simpson Gumpertz & Heger (SGH) comprise the sixth professional team. Academic teams include students from Carnegie Mellon University, and a collaborative study between faculty from the College of Ceramics at Alfred University and the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning.

This year, the pandemic necessitated a hybrid approach to the workshop. The prototypes were fabricated in the factory from virtually developed design concepts, while individual teams are scheduled to arrive at Boston Valley to finalize and build their assemblies. During the conference, the teams’ research will be presented online. Post-presentation panels will further the discussion on the topics of façade engineering and fabrication.

The ACAW 2021 conference will be held on Thursday, August 19, and is open to the public. To register for the event or for more details and sponsorship information, visit the event’s website:

ACAW is a hands-on research and development workshop for architects and facade engineers to explore the use of terra cotta in high-performance facade design. 

Created in 2016 by Boston Valley Terra Cotta, the Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop (ACAW) encourages both industry and academic professionals to elevate design through a greater understanding of the unique properties of terra cotta and the manufacturing process. The spirit of ACAW stems from a belief that this research-driven workshop provides hands-on industry experience, increasing exploration with fewer constraints. Teams from varying backgrounds come together to design with terra cotta, creating mockups that push the formal limitations of architectural ceramics. ACAW 2021 is supported by Carnegie Melon University and the University at Buffalo.

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