CONFERENCE: AAC 2012 Shanghai XXL: Supertall Towers

AAC 2012 Shanghai XXL: Supertall Towers  


In S, M, L, XL, visionary Dutch architect, Rem Koolhaas writes about the work of his architectural practice, Office for Metropolitan Architecture [OMA]. He arranges the architectural and urban design work in terms of size according to the protocol for clothing, S, M, L, XL – small, medium, large, extra large. But what about XXL – extra extra large?

AAC 2012 will address the theme ‘XXL – Supertall Buildings’. It will be based in Shanghai, home to 932 high rise buildings, including the Shanghai World Financial Center, the third tallest building in the world, and The Pudong Tower, soon to become the second tallest building in the world. AAC 2012 will explore the theme of ‘XXL – Supertall Buildings’ through the medium of advanced computational design techniques and fabrication technologies.

AAC 2012 will operate as a collaboration with the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University, one of China’s leading schools of architecture and urban design, and will make use of their new state of the art Digital Design Research Center, that includes a 7-axis robot, 5-axis CNC milling machine and 3-d printing facilities. AAC 2012 will be composed of an international conference, a computation workshop, a digital fabrication workshop and an international exhibition.


16-17 June               XXL International Conference

17-24 June               Computation Workshop

25 June – 4 Aug        Fabrication Workshop

4 Aug                       Opening, XXL International Exhibition


The XXL International Conference will address the theme ‘XXL – Supertall Builldings’ and will bring together some of the leading figures in the world of architecture – ranging from large commercial practices, such as SOM, KPF and Gensler, to progressive and emerging practices, such as Zaha Hadid Architects, Morphosis, UN Studio and MAD – who have been involved in the design and construction of some of the world’s tallest buildings. The aim is to discuss all aspects of building structures at such a scale.

Venue: CAUP Auditorium, Building B, Tongji University

Saturday 16 June

1.30pm                      Deans’ Introduction

Huang Yiru, Deputy Dean of CAUP

Dean Ma, USC

2.30pm                      Keynote Address Astrid Piber (UN Studio)

3.00pm                      Roundtable Discussion – NY/Shanghai (Clifford Pearson, moderator) Silas Chiow, Eric Tomich (SOM), Rebecca Cheng/Ding Yong (KPF), Chris Chan (SOM), Wan Lin (Shanghai Urban Planning and Design Research Institute), Zeng Qun (Vice President, Tongji Design Institute), Zhang Ming (Professor, Tongji University)

3.30pm                      Coffee Break

4.00pm                      Keynote Address

Yansong Ma (MAD)

5.00pm                      Roundtable Discussion – MADe in China

Yansong Ma (MAD)

Dean Ma (USC)

5.30pm                      Keynote Address

Thom Mayne (Morphosis)

7.30pm                      VIP Reception, Z58 (by invitation only)

Sunday 17 June

5.00pm                      Keynote Address

Patrik Schumacher (ZHA)

6.30pm                      Roundtable Discussion

Patrik Schumacher (ZHA)

Neil Leach (USC)

Clifford Pearson (Architectural Record)

David Gerber (USC)

XXL Lectures

18-24 June, 6.30pm, Venue: CAUP Auditorium, Building B, Tongji University

Clifford Pearson (Architectural Record), Gang Song (SCUT), Philip Yuan (Tongji), Wendy W Fok (UHouston/CUHK), Neil Leach (USC), Biayna Bogosian (USC/Columbia), David Gerber (USC), Chris Chan (Gensler)


In the Computation Workshop architects and students will learn how to use a range of the latest computational tools taught by some of the leading computational experts in the field. The 8 day workshop will be divided into 2 four day classes, allowing each student to be introduced to 2 computational tools. Venue: CAUP, Tongji University.

Session 1 (17-20 June)

Rhino Basic – Dixon (McNeel Asia)

Processing – Biayna Bogosian (USC/Columbia)

Digital Project (beginners) – Guan Ting (GT Asia)

Grasshopper – Gang Song (SCUT) / Wendy W Fok (UHouston/CUHK)

Vasari – Glen Katz (Autodesk)

Session 2 (21-24 June)

Rhino Basic – Dixon (McNeel Asia)

Advanced Grasshopper – Biayna Bogosian (USC/Columbia)

Digital Project (intermediate) – Guan Ting (GT Asia)

Revit – Glen Katz (Autodesk)

Grasshopper – Gang Song (SCUT)

Combined Session (17-24 June)

Maya – Luis Quinones (Autodesk), David Gerber (USC)


In the Fabrication Workshop students will work on the design and fabrication of a series of 2m tall scale models of a design for a supertall structure. Models will be fabricated making use of robot, CNC milling machine and other fabrication tools in the Digital Design Research Center. Student will design and construct their own skyscrapers, that will be exhibited in the XXL exhibition.


The AAC Exhibition will address the theme ‘XXL – Supertall Buildings’ and will take place in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai. Work produced by students on the AAC Fabrication Workshop will be exhibited alongside the work of leading architects and designers from around the world.


16 June – 4 Aug: Neil Leach (USC), Philip Yuan (Tongji), Wendy W Fok (UHouston/CUHK)

16- 24 June: David Gerber (USC), Biayna Bogosian (USC), Gang Song (SCUT)

25 June – 13 July: Alvin Huang (USC)

AAC 2012 Shanghai XXL: Supertall Towers