The 2021 Sasada Prize has been awarded to the INESC-ID researcher António Menezes Leitão. António is a senior researcher of the Graphics and Interaction Group at INESC-ID and Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico.


“I had very good teachers but one of them changed my life: Prof. João Pavão Martins became my mentor and he inspired me to follow his example. Just like he did to me, I have challenged my students to become members of my research group and I have tried to be a good mentor. This prize, honoring Prof. Tsuyoshi Sasada, is thus very meaningful to me, as it tells me that I succeeded in that mission. Obviously, the merit also goes to my students. Through their dedication and friendship, they made it very easy to be a mentor”, mentioned António Menezes Leitão about this recognition.


From 2019, the Sasada Prize follows the discontinued Sasada Award (awarded from 2007 until 2016), which was instituted in the memory of Prof. Tsuyoshi Sasada (1941-2005), former Professor of Osaka University, co-founder and Fellow of CAADRIA, a prolific researcher and teacher from whose lab over 200 students have graduated, and better known as “Tee” in the community.


The recipient of this prize is recognized for his sustained record of contributions and their mentoring of others in the research community, demonstrating a significant and lasting impact on computer aided design research. Nominations are called from across the world and this year a rich set was received.


In making its award, the committee was impressed by the focus of António’s research, the quality of his contributions and, in particular, with the significant number of his research students whom he has supported to attend research conferences widely as they establish themselves in the research community. The committee members can recall the high quality of papers and presentations in these sessions over the years.


“My work is focused on the development of theories, techniques, and tools that support architects and engineers in the exploration of algorithmic approaches. These approaches can considerably improve the design process and promote the search for better-performing design solutions but require a significant shift in the way we think about design problems. Throughout the years, I have invited students of architecture, engineering, and computer science to help me advance these ideas and, together, we have been producing a lot of interesting research. The Sasada Prize is the recognition, from the CAADRIA community, that this collaboration has been successful and that my students are now part of a new generation of researchers”, add the INESC-ID Researcher.


The committee has heard from a number of these students who consistently report that he is a committed teacher that is highly sought after and that he is a valued mentor. He has established the research group Algorithm Design for Architecture that welcomes participation from students and young researchers that has developed a strong community committed to design and computation research.


The awarding committee was composed by Atsuko Kaga (Osaka University), Candy Herr (CAADRIA President) and Tom Kvan (CAADRIA Fellow).