MIT Students, Faculty, and Alumni participate in 2017 ACADIA Conference: Disciplines and Disruption

Associate Professor Takehiko Nagakura and Assistant Professor Skylar Tibbits co-chaired the 2017 ACADIA Conference: Disciplines and Disruption, which took place at MIT from November 2-4, 2017.

Disciplines & Disruption initiates a dialog about the state of the discipline of architecture and the impact of technology in shaping or disrupting design, methods and cultural fronts. For the past 30 years, distinctive advancements in technologies have delivered unprecedented possibilities to architects and enabled new expressions, performance, materials, fabrication and construction processes. Simultaneously, digital technology has permeated the social fabric around architecture with broad influences ranging from digital preservation to design with the developing world. Driven by technological, data and material advances, architecture now witnesses the moment of disruption, whereby formerly distinct areas of operation become increasingly connected and accessible to architecture's sphere of concerns in ways never before possible. Distinctions between design and making, building and urban scale, architecture and engineering, real and virtual, on site and remote, physical and digital data, professionals and crowds, are diminishing as technology increases the designer's reach far beyond the confines of the drafting board. This conference provides a platform to investigate the shifting landscape of the discipline today, and to help define and navigate the future.

Numerous faculty, researchers, students, and alumni took part in the conference as organizers, session chairs, keynote speakers, and participants.

Technical chairs from MIT included: Azra Aksamija and William O’Brien Jr. organized the Optimism? Exhibit in Gallery 9; Federico Casalegno chaired the Hackathon; Brandon Clifford and Justin Lavallee chaired the Workshops; Joel Lamere and Cristina Parreño Alonso chaired the Projects section; Mariana Ibanez and Caitlin Mueller chaired the Paper Sessions; and Carl Lostritto and Dimitris Papanikolau were the Regional Event co-chairs.


Neri Oxman, PhD ’10, Associate Professor at the Media Lab, presented the first Keynote Lecture.

Jessica Rosenkrantz, BSA ’07, and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, founders of Nervous System, presented the final Keynote Lecture on November 3, 2017. Rosenkrantz is currently teaching undergraduate design courses as part of the Design Minor.

Carl Lostritto, SMArchS ‘12, and Dimitris Papanikolaou, SMArchS ‘08, MSc Media Arts and Sciences ‘11, moderated the Education Roundtable. Lostritto is currently an Assistant Professor at RISD, where he is the Graduate Program Director. Papanikolaou is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Department Head J. Meejin Yoon also participated on the panel. 

Student, Faculty, and Alumni Participation in Project and Paper Sessions

  • Masoud Akbarzadeh, MArch ‘11, SMArchS ‘12, presented the project “Hedracrete: Prefab, Funicular, Spatial Concrete” in the Project Session. In the same panel, David Costanza, MArch ‘13, SMArchS ‘15 presented “Taut: Tensioned Surface Morphologies in the Production of Textile Composites.” Akbarzadeh is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. Constanza is the Technology Fellow at the Rice School of Architecure.
  • In the Flexible Structures Session, Bjorn Sparrman SMACT ’16, presented “Lightweight, Large-Scale Transformable Structures” and ongoing work at the MIT Self-Assembly Lab. Simon Schleicher, MArch ’09 presented “Bending-active Sandwich Cells: Studio One Research Pavilion 2017.” Schleicher is Assistant Professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design.
  • In the AI and Spatial Data session, Kyle Steinfeld, MArch ’04, presented the talk “Dreams May Come.” Scott Penman, SMArchS ’17, presented "Toward Computational Play." Steinfeld is currently Assistant Professor of Architecture at UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design.