Fifth Annual Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop Pushes the Envelope of Architectural Design

Industry experts gather virtually for a two-day virtual conference

BUFFALO, NY – For a fifth year, Architects, Façade Engineers, and Ceramic Artists will gather via webinar for the Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop (ACAW) being held Wednesday, August 12 through Thursday, August 13. Presented by Boston Valley Terra Cotta and the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning, this year’s online workshop combines the models of academic research, artistic experimentation and industry expertise to explore the design for ceramic components for large-scale production. This year’s event will begin with a keynote presentation from James von Klemperer, President and Design Principal of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates.

Leading Architects from the firms of Handel Architects, Perkins and Will, PLP Architects, KPF, LMN, Studio Gang, Pelli Clark Pelli/Studios, Smith and Gill, and SOM will display their prototype assemblies for high-performance buildings. Team members worked with engineers and crafts people from a leader in architectural ceramic manufacturing, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, with assistance from the faculty and students from the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning.

Following four successful events, this year’s ACAWorkshop looks to build upon the knowledge gained from the previous workshops. The teams began working earlier this year, developing prototypes that explore the use of terra cotta for bioclimatic systems, and most importantly, consider the materiality and production of terra cotta in the design of the building elements.

“ACAW is the only workshop of its kind that brings academia, professional practice and manufacturing together to collaborate on designing the future of architectural terracotta,”says Omar Khan, co-organizer of ACAW and former Chair of the UB Department of Architecture.

By focusing on the design of building elements and the challenges of their production and assembly, Boston Valley believes that architects will walk away from this experience with the knowledge of how to utilize the manufacturing process in order to create a better building.

“Boston Valley aims to apply an inclusive approach to design development. ACAW strives to be a platform to architects that gives a unique opportunity to connect with industry leaders in collaborative research, ”says Boston Valley Sales and Marketing Manager.

The Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop is jointly produced by Boston Valley Terra Cotta and the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning, with support from Walter P. Moore and Associates, Inc.

Returning speakers include Dr. William Carty, the John F. McMahon Professor and Chair of Ceramic Engineering at Alfred University; Andy Brayman, owner of Matter Factory and Glaze Research and Development Specialist for Boston Valley Terra Cotta; Laura Garófalo-Khan, Associate Professor at the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning.

New speakers to the event include Erik Verboon, Co-founder and Managing Director at Walter P. Moore’s New York Office, Roberto Bicchiarelli, Business Development Manager / Lead Concept Designer at Permasteelisa North America; Susan Knack-Brown, Senior Principal with Simpson Gumpertz & Heger; Johnathan Hopp, Assistant Professor of Ceramic Art at Alfred University; and the Ceramic Robotic Design Research Group in affiliation with Ryerson University’s School of Interior Design, Syracuse University’s School of Art, Cal Poly College of Architecture and Environmental Design, and Cornell University.

Wednesday, August 12 offers five one-hour presentations for practitioners in three general topic areas:

  • Embodied Carbon and other material properties of Terra Cotta
  • Innovations in Terra Cotta Construction
  • Academic Research

Thursday, August 13 showcases the work produced by this year’s workshop participants via a virtual reality exhibition hall:

  • Teams producing Slip Cast Facades: Handel Architects, Perkins and Will, PLP Architects
  • Teams producing Slip Cast Surfaces and Structures: KPF, LMN, Studio Gang
  • Teams producing Extrusion Facades: Pelli Clark Pelli/ Studios, Smith and Gill, SOM

The workshop will conclude with remarks from all the ACAW 2020 participants, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, and the Matter Factory craftsmen. This webinar is open to professionals and students in related fields, at no cost. Interested professionals and students will be able to ask questions throughout the live event and watch the recorded event on the ACAW website afterwards. For more information on the event, click here.