• ACAW 2019: August 12–15

2017 was our second workshop event. Participants built upon their findings from the inaugural ACAWorkshop in 2016.

Here is a look at 2017’s topic, speakers, participants, our agenda, venues, and sponsors.

2017 Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop

This year we are enhancing the workshop with more activities and a different curriculum. The workshop’s goal is to educate and be educated by participants working in different areas of ceramic design. It will include introductions to current design and manufacturing techniques, visits to architectural projects and daily lectures to stimulate our imagination on the potential of this material. A significant portion of the workshop will be devoted to working collaboratively in teams to explore innovative design applications for ceramics as they pertain to bio-climatic functions. The teams will be supported by a Boston Valley Terra Cotta adjunct and a UB architecture student who can assist them in developing designs for facades, walls, objects and surfaces.

The Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop is jointly housed at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning’s Hayes Hall and the production facilities of Boston Valley Terra Cotta in Orchard Park, NY with events in some of Buffalo’s most significant historical monuments. The Western New York region offers both a historical connection to clay experimentation and a contemporary ceramics research hub anchored between Boston Valley, the University at Buffalo, and Alfred University.

A significant component of the ACAWorkshop is the experimentation with new technologies as they impact the production and performance of large-scale ceramic applications.

The 4-5 person groups will work together 8 hours a day for 3 days, collocated at Boston Valley Terra Cotta and University at Buffalo. Participants have access to industry experts and educators, to learn, create, and get their hands dirty with the various industrial scale forming methods to explore and develop large-scale applications for ceramic components.

2017 Teams

  • Team AECOM

  • Team Morphosis

  • Team Walter P Moore

  • Team UB

Workshop Theme:

Bioclimatic Ceramic Systems

A workshop program dedicated to the experimentation of large-scale applications for ceramic components, the Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop brings together a collection of interdisciplinary professionals working collaboratively in small groups to explore innovative ceramic façade solutions to architectural challenges. The ACAWorkshop combines the models of academic research, artistic experimentation, and industry expertise.

The material connection across multiple scales is one of the most important opportunities of the ACAWorkshop program: while most architects may employ industrially-produced ceramic components, they may have little material understanding of clay whereas most artists and designers trained in ceramics may have few opportunities to explore the medium at a scale beyond the object. While most residencies may allow artists to explore with the relationship of hand, to form/geometry, and material, the Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop introduces experimentation and expertise in aggregation and production workflow.

This year’s workshop focuses on the bioclimatic use of facades in new construction and retrofitting buildings nearing the end of their façade life.

Team Objectives:

Team AECOM will be developing a series of terra-cotta building envelope components arrayed as a counter-current heat exchanger.

Team Morphosis will be focusing on the high thermal conductivity and low thermal expansion of the ceramics to create panels for a kinetic facade system.

Team Walter P Moore will be investigating composite formulations and assemblies utilizing ceramics in a hybrid formulation to provide an expanded purpose to ceramic cladding.

Team UB will be exploring the possibilities of ornamentation is enhancing bioclimatic qualities: luminescence, shading, thermal absorption, and cooling.

Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop:


John Krouse, Boston Valley Terra Cotta

John B. 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.

Mic Patterson, Schuco USA

Mic Patterson has made a career study and practice of building facades. He is Director of Strategic Development for Schuco-USA, the Ambassador of Innovation & Collaboration for the Façade Tectonics Institute, and PhD candidate at the University of Southern California. He has taught, written and lectured on varied aspects of advanced façade technology, and the author of Structural Glass Facades and Enclosures: Wiley.

Keynote Address: Material Matters: Durability, obsolescence, adaptability and the embodied impacts of the building shell

How long should a building last? How about the façade system? What are the impacts of longevity in buildings? What occurs faster in buildings, deterioration or obsolescence? What roles do innovation and complexity play in providing sustainable outcomes? This interactive discussion addresses these questions and more to provocative affect, providing something of a reality check on the current state of sustainability in contemporary architecture, and pointing to future trajectories of relevant exploration.

Gerd Hoenicke, Schuco International

Craig Mutter, CannonDesign

A Design Principal at CannonDesign, Craig brings over 28 years of experience practicing architecture in New England, the US, and Internationally. With an emphasis on Cultural and Higher Educational Institutions, Craig’s project experience spans a variety of project typologies, including Museums, Visual and Performing Arts, Academic, Campus Design, Historic Sites, and Residential. His main interest is in transforming historic structures, contexts and cultural landscapes. His projects have earned numerous design awards, and each is characterized by a skilled approach to materiality and a thoughtful approach to place making — believing buildings should not only make a bold architectural statement, but also deliver genuine civic value. Prior to joining CannonDesign, Craig led the design of the Wall-Apelt Center for Asian Art at the Ringling Museum of Art as a Principal at Machado Silvetti. Craig is a licensed architect and a LEED-accredited professional.

William M. Carty, Ph.D., Alfred University

Dr. William Carty is the John F. McMahon Professor and Chair of Ceramic Engineering at Alfred University.  He 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 extensively (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.

Dr. Krishna Rajan, University at Buffalo

Presentation: Exploring Design at the Nexus of Architecture and the Science of Materials

The concept of “design” is core to both the fields of architecture and to the study of the science of materials. In this presentation, I will take a materials scientist’s perspective of where there may be opportunities for innovation that lie at the nexus between these two disciplines by harnessing the principles of design.

Anne Currier, Studio Artist

Anne Currier received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute, Chicago and her MFA from the University of Washington, Seattle. Ms. Currier has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Virginia A. Groot Foundation. She was honored with the American Crafts Council College of Fellows career achievement award. Her sculptures are in numerous private and public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC; Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institutions, Washington, D.C; Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, MO; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Musee des Arts Decoratifs de Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Grassi Museum, Leipzig, Germany; The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia. Commissions include Arrow International, Reading, PA and Miller Theater, Alfred, NY. Ms. Currier is professor emerita of the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University. She lives in Scio, NY with her husband, George Hrycun, an artist and avid fly fisherman.


*These are just a few of the participants involved in the ACA Workshop.


Omar Khan
Chair of Architecture, University at Buffalo

John B. Krouse
President / General Manager, Boston Valley Terra Cotta

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