Girish Mahajan

Association for Education and Research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe

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The Association for Education and Research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe (eCAADe) is a non-profit organisation active in the area of Computer Aided Architectural Design (CAAD). Its main goal is to provide a platform for CAAD-related academics and professionals to share experiences, best practices, and results in education and research in Europe and beyond. eCAADe is one of five sister organisations in CAAD worldwide that share the same mission: ACADIA (North America, founded 1981), SIGraDi (Ibero-America, founded 1997), CAADRIA (Asia, founded 1996) and ASCAAD (Arab World, founded 2001). An obviously missing regional association is one that represents Africa. A different, but strongly related organisation in the area of CAAD is the CAAD futures foundation (worldwide scope, founded 1985).


History and organisation

eCAADe is a non-profit organisation which has the following goals:

  • Create an information network about CAAD activities and facilities of special interest existing in schools of architecture in Europe.
  • Search for solutions to facilitate the exchange of staff, students, teaching programmes, and computer software between schools of architecture.
  • Make specific proposals towards the creation of closer relations between education, research, and practice in the area of architectural design and CAAD.
  • Establish contact with governmental, international, and professional organizations and agencies.
  • Throughout the years, many initiatives were undertaken to achieve these goals (some of them listed below). The main event within eCAADe is the annual conference, which takes place at a different location within the region that eCAADe covers. The first conference was held in 1982 at the Technische Universiteit Delft, Netherlands. The first five conferences were formative towards the official establishment of the association in 1987. The formal statutes are registered under Belgium law in Brussels.

    The situation in CAAD has changed substantially from the early years to today. The most influential changes are: increasing computational power of pc's, development of all kinds of simulation techniques (structure, light, thermal, etc.), and the development of Internet. These dynamics, and the fact that the association has always run as a voluntary effort by many, means that the working of the association and the targets that were set evolved throughout its history. The current structure, means of communications, and working method emerged as good practice from experiences in the past. It is important to note therefore, that the description below reflects the current situation, and that this is based on the experience by those who built up and maintained the association.


    Membership to the association is open to individuals (teachers, researchers, students, and architects) and institutions (universities, libraries), either as active member (someone who attends the conference) or as sponsor member. Typically, one becomes a member through attending and registering at an eCAADe conference, or by applying for membership to the secretariat. Membership lasts for one year, after which it has to be renewed.

    Membership gives access to the full-text database of CUMinCAD (see below), use of the list-server, discount on the backorder of paper-proceedings, digital proceedings of eCAADe and CAAD futures (see below), as well as on membership of the International Journal of Design Computing (see below) for a reduced fee.

    At the annual conference, there is a General Assembly (termed Annual General Meeting) in which the administrative council informs the membership and gives account for the state of things in eCAADe.

    Administrative council

    The administrative council runs the normal affairs of the association. Formally, it is composed of at least four people, but numbers fluctuated during the past. Currently, the administrative council consists of a president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, research advisor, conference liaison, communication with regions, and administrative member. It has become good practice to include the previous and next conference host for one year as member of the council. To ensure outside perspective, an elected representative from the CAADRIA association is also council member. For financial rigor, two financial auditors are appointed each year.

    In the current situation, the administrative council meets twice a year: once just before the annual conference (termed the Administrative council meeting), and second half a year later, usually in Brussels (termed the Mid-year meeting). During these meetings, running matters are dealt with and strategy for the coming years is determined (such as future sites for the annual conference). Typically, the Mid-year meeting is also used to assist the next conference host.


    The secretariat keeps track of the membership, holds the account and bills, and is instrumental in the communications of the administrative council with members and the outside world. The first location of the secretariat, at the time of eCAADe’s creation, was the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven in Eindhoven (Marlyn Aretz and Geert Smeltzer). In 1993 the secretariat moved to the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow (Jean Dick and Jelena Petric). In 2005 the secretariat moved to St. Lucas Hogeschool voor Wetenschap en Kunst in Brussels (Nele de Meyere).

    List of presidents

    The president of the Association acts as the Chairman at Annual General Meetings and Mid-Year council meetings. Up until the official establishment of the Association, Tom Maver acted as informal president, and is acknowledged as the first president of the Association.

    List of conferences

    The annual conference is the main event organised under auspices of the association. It is organised by a member in good standing, who volunteers for the organisation. The organiser is supported by members of the administrative council, in particular the conference liaison. During the years, the association has developed the policy to circulate the conference location in such a way that southern, eastern, western, and northern parts of Europe are reached regularly – although this principle can only be maintained on the basis of available organisers.

    Since 1982 with the exception of 1988, an annual academic conference has been organised (see table at end of the article).


    In order to reach the goals set out by the association, eCAADe has been engaged in various initiatives throughout its history. Until the ubiquitous use of Internet, communication by paper and other means have been very important to keep the membership informed. This was achieved, among others, by the eCAADe-bulletin (under Andy Brown, University of Liverpool) and installment of regional representatives. A regional representative is an eCAADe member who provides contact with researchers, teachers, and students about eCAADe in his/her geographical region. Most of the functionality provided by the bulletin and regional representatives is now superseded by the eCAADe listserver, the eCAADe website, and the eCAADe LinkedIn group.


    eCAADe has been instrumental in assuring funding from the European Community, which in particular in the period 1991-1994 proved important to stimulate conference participation by young researchers.


    CUMinCAD is an online database of full-text articles in the area of CAAD, particularly published in conferences of eCAADe and the sister organisations. It is an initiative by Bob Martens (Vienna University of Technology) and Ziga Turk (University of Ljubljana). CUMinCAD currently holds over 11,300 records. It is completely accessible for members of the sister organisations. Other people can view all abstracts and have access to full-text papers older than two years. Public CumInCAD records are available via an Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) feed and records are available via multiple bibliographic archives and citation indexes online.

    Digitization eCAADe proceedings

    Conference proceedings, because they are produced locally, on paper, and in small number, are after a while quite hard to obtain. eCAADe financed in 2000 the combined initiative from eCAADe and CUMinCAD to scan all proceedings and convert them to full-text searchable PDF files. In this way, eCAADe secured the availability of all proceedings from 1983-2000 in a digital archive.

    Digitization CAAD futures proceedings

    CAAD futures is a high-level conference in the area of CAAD. As such, it constitutes an important source of papers. Each proceedings has been published by a reputable publisher (for instance, Elsevier and Kluwer). Nevertheless, availability of these papers became scarce throughout the years. Tom Maver successfully negotiated on behalf of the association with the various publishers the transfer of copyright in order to produce full-text PDF files of all papers published in CAAD futures. This resulted in a digital archive of proceedings of CAAD futures 1985-2003.

    International Journal of Architectural Computing

    The International Journal of Architectural Computing (briefly: IJAC) is an international, peer-reviewed academic journal in the area of CAAD. The journal is an initiative coordinated by André Brown. The refereed journal was established as an international collaboration between the sister organisations and continues to be supported by those sister organisations, representatives of which are members of the editorial board.

    The journal is published by Multiscience, and appears four times a year, with different invited editors from different regions for each issue. In this way, worldwide readership and contributions to the journal are ensured. The Journal has its own web site and welcomes the submission of original high quality research in the field of Computing in Architecture.

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    eCAADe LinkedIn group

    On the social network for professionals, LinkedIn, eCAADe has established a group for anyone who shares an interest in Computer Aided Architectural Design (therefore not only eCAADe members). The group provides another channel for networking and knowledge exchange between members.

    [web site -]

    eCAADe grant & workshop for young researchers

    In 2011 eCAADe launched an initiative to promote participation of young researchers in the conference through a grant provided by eCAADe. The grant is meant for PhD researchers who are in the initial phase of their research project, and who have never participated at an eCAADe conference. Researchers submit their research proposal for review, on the basis of which they are selected. At the day before the actual eCAADe conference there is a half-day workshop for them attended by the eCAADe council members. The PhD students present their work and receive intensive feedback from the eCAADe council members. At present there have been eCAADe grants awarded and workshops organised in 2011 (Ljubljana), 2012 (Prague), and 2013 (Delft).

    Regional International Workshop

    In 2012 eCAADe called for proposals for a so-called regional international workshop. The goal of this is to support an institution & team at a location in Europe where there has never been an eCAADe conference before to organise a small one- or two-day event (workshop). Through this workshop the association is promoted in the region on the one hand, and the organising team get experience with organising such an event on the other hand (which may lead later to the organisation of the eCAADe conference at that location). At present there has been a regional international workshop in Porto, Portugal and upcoming is the regional international workshop in Bialystok, Poland.

    Ivan Petrovic award

    The Ivan Petrovic award was installed in 2001 to honour the memory of former Vice President Ivan Petrovic. The award is for the best presentation by a young researcher (under age 35) at the conference. The award consists of a certificate and a free place at a future eCAADe conference. Also, the award winner will be helped with advancing the paper to the level that it may be published in the International Journal of Architectural Computing.

    Best Presentation award

    The Best Presentation award was installed in 2010 to acknowledge the efforts of conference participants. The award is for the best presentation at the conference. The award consists of 500 euro. Since the start of the Best Presentation award, the prize money for the award has been generously sponsored by Bentley Systems.


    Association for Education and Research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe Wikipedia

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