Monday, November 9, 2009

ACADIA 09: reForm()

Every year the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) assembles a group of the best and brightest academics and practitioners in the field of architecture with the intent of advancing the knowledge revolving around the use of computation in the field of architecture. ACADIA was formed in the early 1980's for the purpose of facilitating communication and critical thinking regarding the use of computers in architecture, planning and building science.Their annual conference changes venue every year and this year comes to Chicago and, more specifically, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

An interesting coincidence, as SAIC President Wellington Reiter points out, that as Chicago celebrates the 100th year of the Burnham Plan it hosts a conference of innovators and big-thinkers that Burnham himself would attend were he alive today. The conference, titled "reForm()," explores how architects, engineers, artists and designers are using new HARDWARE, SOFTWARE and MIDDLEWARE technologies to transform the ways in which buildings and spaces perform, act and operate. Mr. Reiter, against the backdrop of a premier art and design school, acknowledged and embraced the exceptionally high level of craft on display in the work presented at the conference, while at the same time issuing a caution to not let the intricacy and complexity enabled by digital tools distract from the issues of the day.

I’m going to attempt to give an objective recap of each of the conference highlights, followed by an interpretation of how the technology presented addresses issues at hand for practicing architects in a world concerned with climate change, renewable energy sources, sustainability and high-performance building systems.

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