CF2021 map

Call for Proposals

The theme “Design Imperatives: The Future is Now” is an instigation and reflection onto imminent matters that we are confronted with as designers, architects, planners, engineers, innovators and policymakers of the living environment. More than ever, our discipline is facing challenging imperatives including rapid and pervasive digitization and automation, the overwhelming rate of data availability, the question of continuous growth as well as the diminished resources and the impending environmental crisis. These are conditions that generate even greater degrees of uncertainty in conceiving design strategies.
Against this backdrop, the augmentation of new affordances and sensibilities into design practice is deemed necessary for the definition of new paradigms of architectural relevance. Establishing a design practice capable of addressing both issues of the social and material world mandates the reformulation of computational design thinking, the renewal of our methodologies and the reevaluation of frameworks for interdisciplinary synergy and social participation.Central to this new relevance is a critical, unambiguous and active positioning against the face of pressing imperatives. As key considerations we identify: our global ecological health; our duty of care towards helping ourselves and future generations to better manage the planetary boundaries; the betterment of the human condition at large as well as the support of resilient and sustainable architectural futures.
Under these circumstances, CAAD Futures 2021 aims to broaden its inquiry into the socio-economic, political, and environmental imperatives as they pertain to space, and the capacity of computational design to intervene. Extending this call, the conference intends to raise these issues within the design-computing discourse, and foster synergistic relationships for their investigation through the lens of design. To instigate discussions we pose the following questions:

- Can the reconsideration of computational design thinking serve towards the formulation of a plan of action to address planetary crises underway?

- What is the heritage of design-computing and what futures can we imagine?

- How does design maintain its disciplinary unity against the situatedness of its knowledge and the multi-modality of its practices?

- What is the future of design-computing practice within the architectural profession?

- How can we advocate for novel funding models and policies that foster scalable and responsible research in line with a resilient and ethical practice?

We cordially invite and encourage researchers, practitioners, and especially doctoral students coming from architecture, design, urban design, geography, social sciences, computer science, engineering, and other relevant disciplines, to submit research papers and critical essays addressing the following research topics:


1.1 Where have we been? & Where are we now?

- Histories and critical theories of design-computing
- The heritage of architecture’s ‘digital avant-garde’
- Antecedent computational futures; Other computations; Digital regionalism

1.2 Politics, aesthetics and ethics of space

- Critique of computational design
- Social and political equity in computational design (intersectionality, norms and political power)

1.3 Education & Research

- CAAD curricula & Computational literacy
- Computational design research: Methods, methodologies & definitions


2.1 Design

- Generative design; Artificial Intelligence & Machine learning
- Design cognition; Design support systems; Human building interaction
- Building science; Simulation; Goal & Performance driven design

2.2 Fabrication

- Digital fabrication; Robotics; Additive manufacturing
- Novel fabrication techniques; Autonomous construction

2.3 Environment

- Intelligent environments & Ubiquitous computing
- Spatial computing; Virtual environments; Mixed reality
- Computational urban & landscape design
- Digital heritage


3.1 Collaborative & participatory design practices

- Participatory design and community engagement frameworks
- Interdisciplinary collaboration and multimodal engagement methods
- Emerging technologies and new project delivery processes (Industry 4.0, IPD, Blockchain, etc.)


- Circular economies in design: material and immaterial
- Digital twins and building life cycle
- Maintenance and care of urban and social infrastructure


- Architectural unionization
- Architecture as service
- Shared economies and distributed spaces
- Urban policy; Management of public and private data
- Tools-of-the-trade: Software, platforms and digital standards
- Open-source initiatives; Open-data policies


4.1 Other Design Imperatives

Call for papers

Paper Submission Process

The paper submission process opens on October 12 2020 and ends on March 15th 2021 (deadline extended!). Submissions are handled by EasyChair. Authors are recommended to use the provided document template and follow its instructions for formatting and referencing. The conference accepts both Short Papers (up to 10 pages) and Long Papers (15-20 pages). The number of pages refers to the whole document including bibliography and abstract. In the short paper category we welcome research work that is still in progress, projects report,or recent developments of new concepts and theories with potential to ontributing to the discourse by addressing the topics list in the call. In the long paper category we welcome submissions that document complete research with proven or potential capability to advance the state of the research in our field. Both submission formats are subject to the same peer review process. Accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings by the CAAD Futures Foundation. A selection of the best papers is included in a volume published by Springer.

Paper Review Process

The conference follows a double blind review. Submissions are initially reviewed by 3-5 peers. Authors are sent feedback on their submissions and a notification of Acceptance, Rejection, or for Review and Resubmission by March 29 2021. Revised and Accepted papers are re-submitted by April 15 2021 including responses to previous feedback. Submitted papers pass through a second review round by 2 peers at minimum. Authors are notified by April 30 2021 for Acceptance or Rejection.

Paper Publication Process

Acceptance rate is about 33%. Of those, about 12% of the best accepted papers are published in Springer’s CCIS Series (Communications in Computer and Information Science). The rest 21% of papers are published in the Conference Proceedings which is indexed in the CumInCAD database and are open-access. Both publications are intended to be in the public’s hands by the time the conference takes place. Whether the Conference Proceedings and Springer Volume will be published in physical form besides in digital, will be announced in due time.

Submit a Paper

Submit paper through : EasyChair

Paper Templates (Microsoft Word for both MAC and WIN users) -Download Template package

Call for Workshops

CAAD Futures 2021 is committed to hosting workshops that encourage sharing, disseminating, and producing collective knowledge and practices within the community, whether technical, practical, or otherwise. CAAD Futures 2021 is interested in exploring a range of hybrid viable formats, from purely digital to purely physical options, for accommodating participation during this global pandemic. In this spirit, although the main conference is based in the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (PDT), we welcome digital and physical workshop proposals in different time zones and locations. We are also interested in workshops proposals focused on technical tutorials, seminars, and project-based approaches. Workshop leaders will be given an honorarium for their efforts.

CAAD Futures 2021 is committed to complying with all COVID-19 related public health and safety directives for all its events that take place in physical space. The tutors of any workshop or workshop section that takes place in physical space are obliged to be informed of the local health and safety directives, inform their participants in advance, and comply with these directives during the workshop.

Workshop Submissions are open until March 1st, 2021. Workshops will take place before the conference, between July 11 and 15 2020. Workshop proposals should be provided using the provided form below. For any questions regarding the workshops, please contact caadFutures2021 [at] gmail [dot] com using the subject line “CF21 Workshop Proposal.”

Fill in the online form to submit your proposal


If you have any comments, critiques, feedback
Please drop us a message @ CaadFututres 2021 Team


Participating Institutions

Copyright © CAAD FUTURES 2021
Image credits. Top: Base photo © SOM,
Snapshots: The Draftsman of the Lute by Albrecht Dürer (1525); Sketchpad by Ivan Sutherland (1963); A Computer Animated Hand by Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke (1972); Cybersyn Operations Room, photo by Gui Bonsiepe (1973); Home of the Brain by Monika Fleischmann and Wolfgang Strauss (1992); Mediatheque Structural System by Mutsuro Sasaki (2000); Visio4D by Marcos Novak (2001); Steering of Form by Axel Killian (2005); Global Air Quality map by Nasa (2015-2019).
All images edited by the CF2021 team