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Architects and designers coming to USC for global technology conference

Ten faculty members and five students will present their research

The Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan, designed by Zaha Hadid, the Pritzker Prize winning Iraqi-British architect who is speaking at USC Oct. 24. Image courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects
A pavilion design, Agent White, designed by Marc Fornes, an architect who creates sculptural work using computational design and digital fabrication. He is speaking at ACADIA on Oct. 22.
The Gradient Density Chair, printed in 3D, produced by Stratasys and designed by USC Architecture’s Alvin Huang and Synthesis Design + Architecture.  Image courtesy Synthesis Design + Architecture.
A close-up shot of a magnetized modular system to be used for fabrication designed by USC Architecture assistant professor Jose Sanchez, one of the ACADIA co-chairs. The units are made of resins using Statasys 3D printing technology.
USC Architecture’s David Gerber was part of a TED Global Traveling Exhibition with this illustration of Stratasys 3D printing technologies using Gerber’s form finding and design optimization software. Image courtesy of David Gerber

More than 400 of the world’s
 architects, designers and researchers will gather at the USC School of Architecture from Oct. 20-26 for the top architecture event to be held in Southern California this year.

The Association for
 Computer-Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) is committed to design research, education and the importance of enhancing computers and technology for the profession of architecture and the built environment.

USC Architecture will be represented by more than 10 faculty members and five students presenting and exhibiting their design research. For the first time in ACADIA’s history, all three conference co-chairs — David Gerber, Alvin Huang and Jose Sanchez — are 
professors from the same host institution. All three are assistant professors at USC Architecture.

The week will include three notable evening talks open to the public, including one to be given on Oct. 24 by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid in Bovard Auditorium.

Hadid is internationally celebrated for her imaginative work at the interface of architecture, landscape and geology, exemplified in bold projects such as the MAXXI Museum in Rome, the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympic Games and Heydar Aliyev Centre in Azerbaijan.

Her work has been hailed as architecture that transforms our ideas of the future with new spatial concepts and dynamic, visionary forms.

Hadid’s talk is in collaboration with USC Visions and Voices, the university’s humanities initiative. The event is free of charge, but reservations are required.

What to expect

Other evening events open to the public are a panel discussion on design and computational aesthetics to be held at the Southern California Institute of Architecture on Oct. 21 and a talk by Marc Fornes, an architect who creates sculptural work using computational design and digital fabrication, at USC Architecture on Oct. 22.

On Oct. 23, Will Wright, inventor of SimCity and other innovative games, will be a conference keynote speaker. Neil Gershenfeld, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab professor, will speak on Oct. 24. On Oct. 25, the keynote speaker will be Casey Reas, media artist and inventor of one of the top 20 downloaded open source software programs. Also on Oct. 25 will be a panel discussion to launch David Gerber’s new 
book, Paradigms in Computing. These talks are open to conference attendees and media representatives only.

During the week, the public is invited to view several exhibitions on display throughout Watt Hall and Harris Courtyard. These include 3-D printed works, including some from Huang and Sanchez; 70 peer-reviewed project posters; two interactive installations; and the full-scale mockups of the finalists for the Tex-Fab digital fabrication competition, whose winners will be announced at the conference.

Conference participants will spend the week attending multiday workshops on such topics as swarm intelligence: algorithmic design strategies; enhanced parametric design; solar radiation and daylight analysis; design for robotic fabrication; interactive form-finding with physics; and data-driven stadium design.

The conference will conclude on Oct. 26 with a hackathon in the new innovation lab at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

The event will feature D.J. Charlie Roberts, who performs music by writing live code that will be displayed on a screen as the music plays.

And 100 laptop-toting conference participants will break into teams and be given a design challenge. Their work will be shared on public screens for the audience to observe.

The event is open to conference participants only, but registration is still open. 

A complete listing of conference events is available.

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