Call for Session Topics

107th ACSA Annual Meeting  |  BLACK BOX: Articulating Architecture's Core in the Post-Digital Era
March 28-30, 2019  |  Pittsburgh, PA
Co-chairs:    Jeremy Ficca, Carnegie Mellon University
                     Amy Kulper, Rhode Island School of Design
                     Grace La, Harvard University
Host School: Carnegie Mellon University


   DEADLINE: February 28, 2018

 ACSA and the conference co-chairs invite paper session topics that will generate considerable discussion and that articulate architecture’s core: its curricular core,its core assertions, and its core techniques. This is neither a nostalgic, arrière-garde return, nor a critique of avant-garde disciplinary diversity, but rather a genuine questioning and probing of the vanguard in order to determine what currently matters to the education of an architect. If, following Rendell’s lead, we define architecture as a subject containing a number of disciplinary approaches, then this conference will focus on method, research and practice - categories of operation that specifically eschew content, but allow us to nevertheless glimpse inside Banham’s elusive black box. We welcome proposals that interrogate these categories, considering both their disciplinary bounds and the ongoing proliferation of promiscuous hybrids.

In the category of method, we seek sessions that address methodological intersections and their consequences for architecture. Does the current myriad of architectural methodologies contribute to a clearer understanding of the core tenants of architecture, or are they a distraction to the design process?

Research: In the territory of research, we invite sessions that explore how design research protocols are distinguished from established models of inquiry in the sciences and humanities. How does research access and articulate architecture’s disciplinary core while contributing to its evolution?

Practice: In the arena of creative practice, we seek sessions that examine modes of design practice emerging from this specific moment of cultural production. If disciplines are regimes of practice, then cumulatively, how do these diverse and innumerable architectural approaches constitute a disciplinary core?


Banham and Rendell’s essays bracket the conundrum facing the academy in the post-digital era, and foreground a series of conversations about cultural production today.  We seek a dynamic dialogue on the existence and relevancy of core knowledge in the current education and practice of architecture. 

Authors of session topic proposals should submit a 500 word (maximum) description of the session, a brief author biography that demonstrates the author’s expertise in the proposal’s area of focus, and an image (JPEG, TIFF, PNG or MP4) that articulates the topic (for use on social media).

Session Topic Submission Requirements

All authors submitting topics must be faculty, students or staff at an ACSA member school, or become supporting ACSA members at the time of submission. If you are not an ACSA member, or if you are experiencing website access issues, contact ACSA directly (202.785.2324 or for assistance. Authors of session topic proposals should submit:

    • 500-word (maximum) description of the session;
    • Brief author biography that demonstrates the author’s expertise in the proposal’s area of focus;
    • An image (JPEG, TIFF, PNG or MP4) that articulates the topic (for use on social media).

Session Topic Selection Process

All topic proposals will undergo a review process. Conference co-chairs review the ratings and comments from the external reviewers, the proposals themselves, and the biography statement supplied by the proposal author. The selection process takes into consideration the merits of the session topic proposals—the subject, premise, and scope of the proposed session topics should be clearly stated—the expertise of the session topic authors, as well as the importance of organizing a diverse set of sessions for the Annual Meeting. The conference co-chairs will select from the proposed topics and develop additional topics to create a well-rounded call for papers. Decisions on proposals will be announced in Spring 2018.

The authors of the selected session topics will serve as topic chairs for their respective paper sessions. Working in collaboration with the conference co-chairs and ACSA staff, topic chairs are responsible for: maintaining a blind-review process for all submitted papers; enlisting reviewers; selecting final papers for presentation; and moderating their respective sessions during the Annual Meeting. It is ACSA policy that accepted topic chairs are required to register themselves for the 107th ACSA Annual Meeting. 

Call for Papers

The Call for Papers will list the final session topics and will be announced in Early Summer 2018. All papers will undergo a full-paper blind peer-review process. Session topic chairs will take into consideration each paper’s relevance to the topic and the evaluation furnished by the three peer reviewers. Typically, each session will include three or four presentations, with time for discussion. All papers will be submitted through an online interface and must meet the general criteria identified in the Call for Papers and in the submission guidelines. Each author will be limited to one submission per session topic. All authors submitting papers must be faculty, students, or staff at an ACSA member school, or become supporting ACSA members at the time of paper submission. Authors whose papers have been accepted for presentation will be required to register for the 107th Annual Meeting.



December 2017          Call for Session Topics Announced
February 28, 2018     Session Topic Submission Deadline
Spring 2018                Session Topic Selections
Early Summer 2018    Call for Papers Announced
September 19, 2018   Paper Submission Deadline
November 2018          Project/Poster Submission Deadline



For questions please contact: 
    Eric Wayne Ellis                                            Allison Smith
    Director of Operations and Programs           Programs Manager                          
    202-785-2324                                               202-785-2324