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Industry experts will gather in Buffalo to explore bioclimatic features of terra cotta facades.

For a third year in a row, wold renowned architects will be gathering in Buffalo to learn/discover the latest ingenuities related to the design of ceramic components for large-scale production. The Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop (ACAW) will be held Monday, August 13 through Thursday, August 16. Local presenters Boston Valley Terra Cotta and the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning will be hosting a series of workshops designed to challenge attendees to reach even further, to stretch the boundaries and realize the almost limitless potential of terra cotta, where bioclimatic systems and building envelopes are concerned.

We have already seen a number of instances where terra cotta has helped to change the landscape of Buffalo. Most recently, a terra cotta facade was added to the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo (lead image).

Altogether, Boston Valley affixed 105,000 sq.’ of terra cotta panels to the structure. The ACAW conference attendees will not only explore the design and production facilities in Buffalo (Boston Valley Terra Cotta in Orchard Park, and the UB School of Architecture and Planning’s SMART Lab), they will also get a chance to study some of this city’s architectural marvels, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House, and the recently renovated Richardson-Olmsted Campus.

Architecture’s top professionals from SHoP Architects, AECOM, Morphosis, Radical Craft, The Matter Factory, Sasaki, and Studio NYL, will delve into the weeklong workshop, which is supported by the UB Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies (SMART). The architects will partake in theoretical and practical challenges, with assistance from faculty and students from the UB School of Architecture and Planning and Alfred University.

“Architects designing with industrially-produced ceramic components may have little material understanding of clay for large scale production, while most artists and designers trained in ceramics may have few opportunities to explore the medium at a scale beyond the individual object,” says Bill Pottle, Director of Business Development at Boston Valley Terra Cotta. He added, “At the ACAWorkshop, architects, engineers, and educators collaborate with designers and manufacturers in order to deepen their understanding of designing with architectural terra cotta.”

Keynote presentation from Christopher Sharples, Principal of SHoP Architects.

Returning speakers include Dr. William Carty, the John F. McMahon Professor and Chair of Ceramic Engineering at Alfred University, and Anne Currier, sculptor and professor emerita from Alfred University and the 2017 Virginia A. Groot recipient. New speakers to the event include Matthew Krissel, Partner with KieranTimberlake and Craig Copeland, Associate Partner with Pelli Clarke Pelli Associates.

The work put into ACAW will culminate in a final presentation of each teams’ findings on Thursday August 16, 2018. Thursday’s final presentation at the Hotel Henry is open to architectural and ceramic professionals and will be followed by a keynote address and reception. Christopher Sharples’ keynote address will begin at 5:30pm.

For more details and sponsorship information, see the event’s website,

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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