• ACAW 2021


2021 was our sixth workshop event. Here is a look at 2021’s topic, speakers, and sponsors.


Teams from around the world consisting of industry experts and students alike collaborate to design Terra Cotta features which push the limits of what is possible with clay.  Centered around themes of sustainability and biophilia, research and development of these projects have been known to be ground breaking and influential.

ACAW 2021 Links



Opening Keynote Speaker

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien founded their New York City based firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects | Partners in 1986.  Their practice is committed to reflecting the values of non-profit, cultural and academic institutions toward an architecture of enduring vision.  At the heart of their designs is a sense of place defined by light, texture, detail and above all, experience.

Some of their notable projects include the Asia Society Hong Kong, Lefrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park, Brooklyn and the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.  Their current work includes the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, the renovation of David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center, New York City and the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, Chicago.

Over the past three decades, their dedication to this work has been recognized by numerous national and international citations including the National Medal of the Arts from President Obama, the 2013 Firm of the Year Award from the American Institute of Architects, and the 2019 Praemium Imperiale presented by the Japan Art Association.

In parallel with their practice, Tod and Billie maintain active academic careers and lecture worldwide.  As educators and practitioners, they are deeply committed to creating a better world through architecture.

Closing Keynote Speaker

Mic Patterson, PhD, LEED AP+

Ambassador of Innovation & Collaboration, Façade Tectonics Institute

Mic Patterson has concentrated his professional and academic career on advanced façade technology and sustainable building practices. He has a long career in façade design and delivery with companies including Enclos, where he was involved in the startup of the Advanced Technology Studio, and Schüco, where he was involved in the startup of the Virtual Construction Lab. He also founded the Façade Tectonics Institute where he currently sits on the board of directors. Patterson holds a PhD in Architecture from the University of Southern California. He has taught, written, and lectured internationally on diverse aspects of advanced façade technology. He is the author of Structural Glass Facades and Enclosures.

Host and Moderator

John Krouse

President CEO, Boston Valley Terra Cotta

Omar Khan

Professor and Head, School of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University


Erik Verboon

Director of Enclosure Engineering, Walter P Moore

Erik Verboon is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Walter P Moore’s New York office. Trained in both architecture and engineering, Erik brings a deep global experience with a focus on the design of complex and high-performance building envelopes for a wide range of building types. Erik also has experience working with a wide variety of façade applications including high-performance, double-skin façades, geometrically complex composite façades, and custom unitized enclosures for both new buildings and existing building retrofits and additions.

His experience in digital design, geometric rationalization, and environmental analysis allows him to bring the highest level of value to his clients while also helping designers deliver projects to the highest level of design sophistication while maximizing performance and minimizing cost. Erik’s portfolio expresses both national and international work with extensive experience in the New York market, bringing expertise in buildings old and new, across academic, commercial, and cultural sectors. In addition to Erik’s professional accolades, he teaches enclosure design at a number of leading universities.

Facade Engineer Panelists

Kais Al-Rawi
Senior Technical Designer, Walter P. Moore

David Bott
Principal, Heintges

Erik Farrington
Associate Principal, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

Jean Gu
Associate, Heintges

Brett Laureys
Principal and Associate Director of Project Operations, WJE

Andre Parnther
Associate Technical Designer, Buro Happold


Omar Khan

Head, School of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University, Co-organizer of the Architectural Ceramics Assemblies Workshop (ACAW)

Omar Khan is Professor and Head of the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University and co-organizer of the Architectural Ceramics Assemblies Workshop (ACAW). Khan was previously an Associate Professor at the University at Buffalo (SUNY) and co-director of the Sustainable Manufacturing and Advanced Robotic Technologies (SMART) Community of Excellence where he spearheaded academia and industry research partnerships. ACAW is a product of that initiative, a research collaboration supported by Boston Valley Terra Cotta to explore material and design innovations in architectural ceramics. Khan, with his partner Laura Garofalo, also edits the annual books chronicling the research and prototypes developed through ACAW.

Fabricator Panelists

John Neary
Senior Facade Specialist, HOK

Roberto Bicchiarelli
Design Manager, Permasteelisa North America

John Krouse
President/CEO, Boston Valley Terra Cotta

Michael Mulhern
President, TriPyramid

Andrew Pries
Pre-Construction Manager, Boston Valley Terra Cotta

Bernhard Rudolf (Anticipated)
Director of Engineering, Joseph Gartner

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