Conference Theme and Topic Areas
Historically, society has recognized architects more for their role in the design of buildings and environments, and less so for their role in the production of knowledge. Yet we know the wide body of research that takes place in the discipline and profession advances the field through numerous ways: by introducing new ideas, testing questions, defining methodology, developing technology and promoting critical discourse. How exactly research shapes design and the built environment, however, is not always clear. For many, its contributions remain all but invisible. The theme of ARCC 2013 is visibility, in all its possible connotations. The goal of this year's conference is to interrogate the idea of visibility from a variety of perspectives to bring research itself into sharper focus.
Innovations in Materials and Construction Visualization
The proliferation of new technologies has enabled a plethora of new and hybrid materials to meet 21st century economic, programmatic, and environmental demands. Whether something newly found in nature or made in the lab, a growing body of research engages our material culture in creative and profound ways. What is the genesis and promise of these new materials? What is their purpose and what problems do they solve? How have computation and parametric modeling enabled the visibility of new forms of constructional possibilities and material conditions?
Making Visible: New Ideas, Minor Voices, and Topics on the Margins
Architecture has the capacity to record culture through a specific ordering of space, program and materials in a particular place and time. Dominant cultural paradigms are all around us. They make themselves visible, from civic institutions to the everyday spaces we occupy and live in. But what about the places and people we know little about? How does culture in the margins find place and meaning in our lives? What are the possibilities of giving voice to those who have less means to express themselves? Why are some cultures made more visible than others?
Maps, Media, and Models in Architectural History
Arguably, the past is key to understanding the present. History has the capacity to affect us in wide-ranging ways. New research methods and tools has uncovered new ways of understanding the world around us. What new forms of archival research are at work today? How has new media and mapping techniques constructed new histories never yet seen? What new or alternative models of history are being made visible and through what new research methodologies and technologies of inquiry? What is the role and value of history in a constantly changing, mediated environment?
New Visions and Revisions in Architectural Education
The rapid technological changes of the past two decades have presented complex challenges to architectural education. A new generation of teachers has emerged schooled in the creative use of advanced technologies. How has the speed of information exchange, accelerated by digital technology, changed architectural education? What forms of interdisciplinary engagement are explored in schools of architecture? How have global urbanization, economic instability and climate change spurred a rethinking of design methodologies and the potential for expanded cross-disciplinary collaboration?
Educating Policymakers, Practitioners, and the Public
The dissemination of research beyond the boundaries of our discipline is central to making real and measurable impact in the lives of those who occupy our built environments. How does research visibly affect policy change? Who is our audience and how well do they understand what we do? What new strategies are at work to better educate the constituencies subject to our research? What new methods are employed to produce effective policy change? How well do we communicate with our audience, and how well do they understand, let alone support, the architectural research we undertake?
Visualizing Sustainability and Performance in Buildings
A range of concepts of sustainability have emerged over the past two decades. These concepts have powerfully reshaped the discourse of architecture, affecting pedagogy, curriculum, and research trajectories. How does visibility contribute to the understanding of sustainability? What innovative research methods are addressing the profession’s ambitious carbon reduction goals? How have new computational tools and design methods influenced the discourse on sustainability? What types of building performance are being measured and how do such metrics influence architectural design?
Technology, Connectedness, and the Urban Environment
Urban performance depends not only on the city's infrastructure but also on the availability and quality of knowledge communication and social infrastructure. How can new technologies be leveraged to improve the urban environment? What new types of public/private collaborations can empower cities and their communities through meaningful technology experiences that link education, urban development and community building? How does information and communication technologies shape the experience of the city?