2014 Fall Conference

2014 Fall Conference | WORKING OUT: thinking while building
October 16-18, 2014 | Halifax, NS
Host School: Dalhousie University
Co-chairs: Ted Cavanagh, Dalhousie University; Ursula Hartig, Technical University of Berlin & Sergio Palleroni, Portland State University

Paper Proceedings


Project Proceedings

+ Purchase the Paper Proceedings  $40    + View the digital Project Proceedings


This conference considers the potential of design/build in post-secondary education. It is interested in expanding this potential, developing ideas to improve delivery and efficacy, and reflecting on design/build as pedagogy and practice.

The conference is interested in first-hand reports comparing the pedagogical contexts of design/build as well as rigorous surveys ranging across many schools. It is interested in the single project as well as wider initiatives. Above all, it is interested in analyzing the conditions of the project before, during, and after construction.

The conference encompasses a number of related issues:

    • the pedagogies of service learning and tacit knowledge
    • field work, whether local or international
    • architecture as instigation of social change
    • architecture as a manifestation of culture
    • architecture as technological innovation
    • architecture as a social process  

And some questions that go beyond the instrumental:

    • can design-build move beyond “one-off” construction?
    • does rural context affect innovation?
    • in innovative construction, does process differ from product?
    • can design-build address larger problems, e.g.: climate change, the social role of craft, unemployment?
    • can it become an effective vehicle for research and development in the construction sector?  
    • can design/build be reflected on in ways that contribute to architecture theory and history?
    • how might design/build be explored as distinct pedagogic practice?

The ACSA underlined the recent increase in design/build courses in North America, with the introduction of a Design/Build Award in 2012. It is now included in over 70% of our curricula. Design/build can be as big as the entire curriculum or as small as an elective; it can take place in a school’s courtyard or halfway across the world; it can be demolished at the end of the semester or become a permanent part of a community; and it can innovate in all imaginable ways.

This conference is the third in a series. The first was held at the Technical University of Berlin, December 2012 and the second is 2013 in Mexico City. Ursula Hartig, Technical University of Berlin, will help us carry forward the discussions about design/build initiated in 2012. This project has funding of two grants from Canada and European Union totaling over $3 million. 

Design/Build Xchange

This conference is part of the design/build Xchange (dbX), an initiative of the ACSA and four initiating schools (University of North Carolina Charlotte, University of Louisiana Lafayette, University of Arizona and Dalhousie University).

One aim of the design/build Xchange is to link all design-build programs in architectural schools in North America. The content of the linkages include:

  • webcast / pod cast from the various building sites
  • live simultaneous webcasts
  • a pool of resources
  • a network of consultation
  • a video and analytical record of techniques and products
  • connections to trade schools and the wider public

Evidence and examples of these linkages will be demonstrated and added to at the conference.

Call for Participation

There is a Call for Abstracts and a Call for Design+Research Projects. Given the nature of WORKING OUT, we will experiment with a presentation format in which selected projects will undergo a public review much like a “crit” with several well-respected design/build practitioners acting as critics.



February 2014 Submission site opens
April 28, 2014 EXTENDED     Submission DEADLINE
July 2014  Accept/reject notifications sent to authors with reviewer comments. 
July - September 2014 Accepted paper abstract authors prepare full papers for publication
October 1, 2014 Final papers due
October 16-18, 2014    
WORKING OUT, Fall Conference in Halifax, NS

Additional Information

Click the links below to find the most up-to-date information regarding the conference.
+ Registration
+ Schedule
+ Location + Lodging
+ Keynote Speakers
+ Roster
+ Call for Abstracts 
+ Call for Design+Research Projects


For questions please contact: 

Eric Wayne Ellis
Director of Operations and Programs         
Angela DeGeorge 
Programs Coordinator