The Association of Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA),  
2009 annual conference
October 22, 23, 24, 25, 2009 (Chicago Illinois USA)


How architects, engineers, artists and designers are using hardware,  
software and middleware technologies to create a new tomorrow

No longer just drawn or built, our homes, offices, factories and  
cities are being increasingly programmed, filled with sensors and  
shaped by new parameters.  These strategies and devices give us the  
ability to produce new types of spaces that actively respond to users  
and the natural environment, radically altering the ideas of ambience,  
site and context.

While those who carefully produce these new spaces – the architects,  
engineers, contractors, artists and designers - are busy understanding  
how buildings can adapt by changing form or operation, questions about  
the reasons that drive reform remain.  What creative urges underlie  
this change and why should our environments undergo responsive  
transformations? Are deeper unidentified cultural forces at play?

The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Department of  
Architecture, Interior Architecture and Designed Objects, is proud to  
host “reForm()” – the 2009 international conference of the  
Association of Computer Aided Design In Architecture (ACADIA) – a  
conference about tomorrow’s visionary architecture and the hardware,  
software and middleware systems that work to revolutionize our daily  

Hardware is ubiquitous in architecture but the profession has yet to  
clearly articulate how new types of smart hardware – sensors,  
actuators, emerging materials – can be used to transform and improve  
buildings to spur new patterns of living.  It is time to recognize the  
potential of computationally driven hardware to reform architecture,  
its materials, systems, structures, skins and performance.

Such change may come from research or design; however it is equally  
likely that changes will arrive as a technology transfer from other  
enterprises. Aerospace, agriculture, distribution, and manufacturing  
industries have established track records in inventing and applying  
new computational systems, sensing and actuating technologies.  How  
might architecture learn from other disciplines and practices?

Integrating smart systems with construction tools may give the  
construction industry a new economic and production platform, or,  
alternatively these tools may give architects new opportunities for  
exploring creative practice.  What types of buildings might result  
from intelligent, or robotic, construction methods and how could these  
tools change the look, the experience, and the very nature of our  
buildings and cities?

reForm(Hardware) invites papers and works that touch upon, while not  
being limited to, the topics below:

*  The application of new and computationally inspired materials for  
use in the production of environments for people (from airplanes to  
automobiles, parks to farms, and buildings to garments)

*  The concepts and lessons learnt from research in other disciplines  
and industries that could be applied in architecture

*  Fabrication of architectural components and assemblies with  
embedded computation

*  The demonstrated potential that can play in the design development  
and control of smart material things

*  The impact of Building Automation Systems (BAS) in the design of  
better buildings

*  The roles and features of computationally driven construction tools  
that change, enhance, or challenge conventional approaches to the  
production of the built world


Software could be regarded not only as a design tool or medium, such  
as CAD, but also as a component to be installed into architecture  
itself. Development of software specific architecture could allow  
designers to use computational processes as mediators and actuators  
for architectural space.  By integrating software into the  
construction and operation of projects, software takes on a separate  
and distinct role in architecture and design.

Design methods that use computation in their conception and  
construction extend notions of building, building materials and  
tools.  While software shapes the constructed world, we can’t ignore  
the potential of extending and shaping software in return.  How should  
software and systems change to produce better buildings, and how will  
buildings work to produce better-situated software and building  
information tools?

reForm(Software) invites papers and works that touch upon, while not  
being limited to, the topics below:

*  The emergence of new CAD or BIM tools, what they do and why they  

*  The emergence of software driven design and construction methods  
that improve our built environments and environmental systems

*  Critical reviews and demonstrated accomplishments or failures with  
the integration of software systems in buildings

*  The impact of “digital limitations” on design, parameterization and  

*  The theories, methods and procedures that extend the role and  
function of software in design

*  The demonstration of new programming or design methodologies that  
have a software focus and that examine the consequences or  
implications that these technologies have upon the built world

*  The impact of embedded expressions, objects and programming  
structures on the built environment


Exploring the critical issues of revolutionizing connections between  
hardware, software, environment and user, reForm (Middleware) calls  
for papers that address the issues of connecting.  Papers should  
identify important design opportunities that lead to the production of  
new tools, environments, thoughts, methods, products and procedures.

Contributors to this session should investigate the role of  
“connection” and the value of an environmentally, technologically,  
economically or socially articulated middleware.  What parts of  
tomorrow’s built world will be constructed, designed, engineered, and  
empowered by a reformed middle?

reForm(Middleware) invites papers and works that touch upon, while not  
being limited to, the topics below:

*  The role of simulation and environmental modeling in design  
practice and theory

*  The impact of computational networks and networking in the built  

*  Tactics for using middleware to reinforce or strengthen the most  
vulnerable and frail parts of buildings, to improve robustness and  

*  Thoughts and prototypes that explore the unknown in middleware and  
how it might influence architecture, engineering art and design

*  New types of software tools that facilitate the design and  
production of middleware or architecture

*  Unknown futures and unforeseen mixes of hardware / software /  
middleware that might challenge the understanding and inter-
relationships of these terms


Set in the heart of Chicago, a city shaped by ingenuity, invention and  
industry, and hosted by the School of The Art Institute of Chicago,  
the Association of Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA)  
seeks papers and exhibits that demonstrate bold new futures and the  
theories, methods, and means that will help us to achieve change.

We invite the public, industry, and designers from all disciplines to  
attend and contribute to this conference by sharing their insights,  
needs, and desires for a better tomorrow through research, papers,  
projects, and prototypes - hardwares, softwares and middlewares.

Papers exploring topics of general interest to the ACADIA community  
are also welcome.  Let’s begin this change – let’s reForm()!

*  Abstracts due: March 9, 2009 midnight PST. Abstracts are not for  
review. They will be used only to understand the topics and organize  
peer reviewers.
*  Full papers are due: April 13, 2009 midnight PST
*  Notification of acceptance by May 22, 2009. Full papers may be  
submitted even if you did not submit an abstract.
*  Final papers and projects with edits due: June 08, 2009.

Submission Requirements:
*  Review type: All articles submitted are subject to a double blind  
review process.
*  Abstract submissions should be no more than 500 words
*  Full paper submissions should normally be within the range  
2000-4000 words plus up to six illustrations.
*  Submission language: English
*  Types of contribution: We seek original research – unpublished works.
*  Please refer to the formatting requirements available for download  

Conference Team:
*  Site Chair: Doug Pancoast
*  Technical Chairs: Tristan d’Estree Sterk, Russell Loveridge
*  Exhibition Chair: Mary Jane Jacob
*  Competition Chair: Jason Vollen

Correspondence, Enquiries and Media:
*  ACADIA 2009 - reForm()
    School of The Art Institute of Chicago
    Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture and Designed  
    36 South Wabash Avenue
    Chicago IL 60603

*  email: [email protected]




Doug Pancoast
(Site Chair ACADIA 2009)

Tristan d'Estree Sterk
(Technical Chair ACADIA 2009)

Russell Loveridge
(Technical Co-Chair ACADIA 2009)

Mary Jane Jacob
(Exhibition Chair ACADIA 2009)

Jason Vollen
(Competition Chair ACADIA 2009)