Introduction to Our 2019 ACAWorkshop Organizers & Speakers

The fourth annual Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop will take place in Buffalo, NY in just a few weeks. To prepare for the week-long event, we are covering the ACAWorkshop in depth — this blog focuses on the people who bring the event to life, event organizers and guest speakers.

If you wish to attend the final presentation of the ACAWorkshop, please click this link and register for the event.


The ACAWorkshop exists because of the dedication of our organizers who put their time and effort into expanding the research and development of architectural ceramics. The organizers for this event are committed to providing a space for industry professionals to learn more about their products and methods. ACAW is a result of successful collaboration between Boston Valley Terra Cotta and University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. The event is hosted is UB’s Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies SMART Lab, bringing together the local resources in manufacturing and architecture to benefit participants and attendees.

John Krouse
CEO, Boston Valley Terra Cotta

John Krouse, President of Boston Valley Terra Cotta, holds his B.S. in Ceramic Engineering and minor in Ceramic Sculpture from Alfred University. His engineering, artistic expertise, and 32 years of experience guides the manufacture of terra cotta products for several markets while consistently expanding the state of the art facility and equipment.

Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop, John Krouse

Boston Valley Terra Cotta CEO, John Krouse, presenting at the 2017 Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop.

Omar Khan
Co-Director, SMART Community of Excellence
Associate Professor, Department of Architecture, University at Buffalo

Omar Khan is an Associate Professor, founding member of CAST, at the School of Architecture and Planning at Buffalo, and co-founder of Liminal Projects. Khan’s research and practice address responsiveness and performativity in architecture. He is co-lead of UB’s research center on Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies, which applies design, smart materials and automation to transform advanced manufacturing.

Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop, Matt Krissel, Omar Khan, John Krouse, University at Buffalo, KieranTimberlake

Matt Krissel (KieranTimberlake), Omar Khan, and John Krouse during a presentation at the 2018 ACAWorkshop.

Mitchell Bring
ACAWorkshop Coordinator
Adjunct Professor, Department of Architecture, University at Buffalo

Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop, Mitchell Bring, University at Buffalo

Michell Bring introduces Dr. William M. Carty’s presentation at the 2018 ACAWorkshop.

Andy Brayman
ACAWorkshop Glaze Consultant
Ceramic Artist, Matter Factory

Andy Brayman is the founder of The Matter Factory in Kansas City — he holds a BA in sociology and a BFA in ceramics from the University of Kansas (1996) and an MFA in ceramics from Alfred University (1998). His work is a combination of traditional craft, industrial processes, physical computing, and contemporary art strategies. Andy Brayman has recently joined Boston Valley as our new research and development specialist.

Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop, Andy Brayman, The Matter Factory

Andy Brayman working with a prototype at Boston Valley’s new Research & Development Lab.

Click here to read our blog post announcing Andy Brayman as Boston Valley’s Glaze Research and Development Specialist at The Matter Factory.

Keynote Speaker

At the end of the ACAWorkshop the public is invited to a final presentation of each team’s findings with a distinguished keynote address. The 2019 ACAW keynote speech will be delivered by Annabelle Selldorf, Principal of Selldorf Architects. Last year’s ACAWorkshop was headlined by a keynote speech by Chris Sharples, Principal of SHoP Architects.

Annabelle Selldorf, FAIA
Principal, Selldorf Architects

Annabelle Selldorf, FAIA is the Principal of Selldorf Architects. Born and raised in Germany, she received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Pratt Institute and a Master of Architecture degree from Syracuse University in Florence, Italy. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and serves on the Board of the Architectural League of New York, the World Monuments Fund, the Chinati Foundation, and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.

Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop, Annabelle Selldorf, Selldorf Architects

Annabelle Selldorf is the Keynote Speaker of the 2019 Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop.

Click here to read our Architect Profile on Selldorf Architects.


Throughout the week, industry professionals give insightful presentations during meals and breaks. Speakers share their wisdom with participants to increase their awareness of architectural terra cotta, design and architecture.

Billie Faircloth, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Partner, KieranTimberlake

Billie Faircloth is a practicing architect, educator, and Partner at KieranTimberlake, where she leads transdisciplinary research, design, and problem-solving processes across fields including environmental management, urban ecology, chemical physics, materials science, and architecture. She fosters collaboration between trades, academies, and industries in order to define a relevant problem-solving boundary for the built environment.

William M. Carty, Ph.D.
Professor Ceramic Engineering/Materials Science Ceramic Engineering
J.F. McMahon Chair in Ceramics
Inamori School of Engineering, Alfred University

Dr. William Carty received a B.S. and M.S. in Ceramic Engineering from UMR (Missouri), a Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Washington, and joined Alfred University in 1993. He teaches engineering classes during the school year and “Ceramic Science for the Artist” workshops in the summer and has researched all aspects of traditional ceramics production. He is a frequent contributor to NCECA, has learned to speak the proper language (i.e., the language of the artist), and has an unbridled passion for understanding the why of ceramics.

Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop, Alfred University, William M. Carty

Dr. William M. Carty gives a presentation at the 2018 Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop.

Jason Vollen
Vice President, High Performance Buildings
Practice Leader, FABS LLC

Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop, AECOM, Jason Vollen

Jason Vollen works on assembling Team AECOM’s prototype at the 2018 Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop.

Click here to read the Team Feature on AECOM from the 2018 ACAW.

Sameer Kumar, AIA
Director of Enclosure Design, SHoP Architects

Sameer Kumar is a registered architect and the Director of Enclosure Design at SHoP where he provides guidance in design, development, and execution of the building enclosure for every project at the firm. He has led facade direction on many of SHoP’s most high profile projects including Uber Headquarters, 111 West 57th Street and South Street Seaport. Sameer’s experience designing building enclosures is founded upon a diverse and extensive career working with firms like FTL, Heingtes and KPF, where he has successfully participated in numerous prominent projects across the world.


Click to register for the final presentation of the ACAWorkshop.