As part of the CAADRIA 2021 conference, five Roundtable Conversations will be held. Each of these events is coordinated by a Roundtable Convenor, who has defined a session topic and invited three or four international Guest Speakers to join him/her in a round table discussion. Following a short introductory presentation by the Convenor, each Speaker will be asked to respond through a presentation and a conversation. The aim is to cover a broad range of topics that are complementary to the Keynote Lectures and deserve in-depth discussion in a more open-ended format.

Roundtable Session 1: Projections on Automation and Architecture
Convenor: Gilles Retsin
Monday 29 March, 20:00 pm HKT

Roundtable Session 2: Innovation Re-Origination
Convenor: David Erdman
Tuesday 30 March, 20:00 pm HKT

Roundtable Session 3: FUTURE PRACTICE: Challenges and Opportunities of Technology Integration in Building Engineering
Convenor: Ramon van der Heijden
Wednesday 31 March, 9:30 am HKT

Roundtable Session 4: FROM LAB TO SITE: Promises of Disruptive Technology Implementations in AEC
Convenor: Diego Pinochet
Wednesday 31 March, 20:00 pm HKT

Roundtable Session 5: Encoding and Decoding Patterns of Planetary Urbanization
Convenor: Enriqueta Llabres-Valls
Thursday 1 April, 15:00 pm HKT

Roundtable Conversation 1:

Projections on Automation and Architecture

Monday 29 March, 20:00 pm, Hong Kong (13:00 pm, London)

Recent tendencies in architecture have moved on from an obsession with continuous form to develop a more critical understanding of the disciplines’ relation to “the Digital”. Part of this shift is a variegated group of practitioners and theorists that interrogate the notion of automation as an alternative angle to understand the relation between architecture and digital technologies.

Framing architecture’s engagement with digital technologies as a form of automation opens up a vast territory of investigation, ranging from robotics and fabrication, to platform economics, the politics of the digital, and planetary issues such as climate change. While this is a welcome departure from the often-isolated viewpoint of the early digital experiments in architecture, the question arises how this reflects back on core issues architecture itself – space, form and experience. Returning from these vast territories of automation, have we lost the desire to formulate a position on space and form?

This panel of experts will debate how automation has impacted our understanding of design and architecture itself. Covering the politics of automation and its repercussions on architecture, the discussion will project possible architectural attitudes, ideas and positions.


Gilles Retsin
Programme Director, M.Arch Architectural Design, the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Co-founder, UCL AUAR Labs (Automated Architecture Labs)
Co-founder, AUAR ltd (Automated Architecture)

Originally from Belgium, Gilles Retsin is an architect and designer living in London. He studied architecture in Belgium, Chile and the UK, where he graduated from the Architectural Association. His design work and critical discourse has been internationally recognised through awards, lectures and exhibitions at major cultural institutions such as the Museum of Art and Design in New York, the Royal Academy in London and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. He recently edited an issue of Architectural Design (AD) on the Discrete and has co-edited Robotic Building: Architecture in the Age of Automation, with Detail Verlag.

Gilles Retsin is Programme Director of the M.Arch Architectural Design at UCL, the Bartlett School of Architecture. He is also co-founder of the UCL AUAR Labs (Automated Architecture Labs), which does high profile research into new design and fabrication technologies. He is also co-founder of AUAR ltd (Automated Architecture), a start-up working towards an automated platform for affordable housing.


Marina Otero Verzier
Head of the Social Design MA at Design Academy Eindhoven
Director of Research, Het Nieuwe Instituut
Bio: expand

Marina Otero Verzier is an architect based in Rotterdam. She is Director of Research at Het Nieuwe Instituut (HNI) and head of the Social Design MA at Design Academy Eindhoven. At HNI, Otero works to give visibility to research projects, practices, and initiatives that depart from established modes of thinking. Examples include Automated Landscapes (focusing on emerging architectures of automated labour) and BURN-OUT. Exhaustion on a planetary scale (instigating other forms of coexistence and care for multispecies, collective bodies). She was previously Director of Global Network Programming at Studio-X in New York. Otero was a member of the Artistic Team for Manifesta 13, and Curator of WORK, BODY, LEISURE, the Dutch Pavilion at the 16th Venice International Architecture Biennale in 2018. With the After Belonging Agency, she was Chief Curator of the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016. Currently, she is one of the curators of the 13th Shanghai Art Biennial. Otero studied at TU Delft and ETSA Madrid and Columbia University GSAPP. In 2016, she received her PhD at ETSA Madrid.

Deborah Lopez & Hadin Charbel
Co-founders, Pareid Office
Lecturers, the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Bio: expand

Deborah Lopez and Hadin Charbel are architects and founders of Pareid; an interdisciplinary design and research studio currently located in London. Their works adopt approaches from various fields and contexts, addressing topics related to climate, ecology, human perception, machine sentience, and their capacity for altering current modes of existence through iminent fictions (if) believing that disruptions to existing norms can be useful in generating alternate versions of future realities.
They have been recently awarded with the Arquia Innova Award in the VII Arquia Próxima Awards by Fundación Arquia and their work has been presented in different international institutions and exhibitions such as Royal Academy of Arts, Centre Pompidou, Seoul Biennale or Venice Biennale.

They are both Lecturers (Teaching) at The Bartlett School of Architecture UCL in the B-Pro program where they run the cross Research Cluster (1+20) in Architectural Design and Urban Design entitled “Monumental Wastelands”, By using climate fiction as a vehicle, speculations are put forward that engage various ecologies via sentient machines and automated landscapes, through which current economically profitable models are challenged.

Jelle Feringa
Chief Technology Officer, Aectual
Bio: expand

Jelle Feringa is an architecture and robotics specialist and as CTO of Aectual responsible for the development and production of tailor-made building products at scale. While developing his PhD thesis at TU Delft, Jelle established a full robotics lab in the docks of Rotterdam. Here he developed the technical underpinnings for Odico formwork robotics, the first publicly traded architectural robotics company which he co-founded in 2012. Technologies that Jelle developed, include hotwire, hotblade, diamond wire cutting and large scale 3d printing and are applied in high-profile construction projects.

Jelle has taught & lectured internationally at the Bartlett, Architectural Association, Paris-Malaquias, IAAC, ETH Zürich, TU Delft and Aarhus School of Architecture. Jelle is a founding partner of EZCT Architecture & Design Research. The work of the office is widely exhibited, exhibitions include the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Archilab, Orléans, Barbican Gallery Design Miami/Basel. Projects by the office are part of Pompidou Center permanent collection and the FRAC Centre Orléans. He is a long-term contributor of the PythonOCC project, and some of his fascinations include levelsets, stereotomy and powertools.

Roundtable Conversation 2:

Innovation Re-Origination

Tuesday 30 March, 20:00 pm, Hong Kong (08:00 am, New York)

This panel will be discussing how the displacement of the origins of existing contexts can constitute new, future origins. Innovation is not always what’s new and what is next; it may be directly in front of us. This is an increasingly important consideration for architectural education and the profession; one which foregrounds the reuse of buildings, building systems, materials, infrastructures, trades, craftsmanship, and landscapes as a viable arena for scholarly research, design development and technical innovation. Within the context of CAADRIA, the importance of this subject lies in the numerous technological promises that come with the hybrid, mixed systems and which contradict and complicate the clean, singularity of 20th century, wholistic, ground-up construction. In focusing on this area of research, the smooth streamlined mythology of BIM software might be reconsidered and expose latent technical horizons.

The scope of research on “re-origination” and its requisite praxes locates itself on the fringes of architecture discourse. Existing research on this subject has been limited due to the fact that the majority of architecture schools and practices largely see solutions to sustainability as tethered to the continued necessity for new, novel construction systems, materials and tradecrafts. This panel will explore ways in which research in this area emphasises and explores the robust space between social and environmental justice afforded by the primary lens of “alteration.” Through this framework, small-scale, highly attenuated, design moves that draw concisely from their context, minimize displacement, limit resources, and capitalize on obsolete square footage and/or practices will be discussed as having the capacity to innovate and re-originate.


David Erdman
Chairperson, Graduate Architecture and Urban Design, Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture

David Erdman is the chairperson of Graduate Architecture and Urban Design at Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture in Brooklyn, NY. He was a co-founding partner of the design collaborative servo where he designed and completed numerous projects exhibited in museums in North America and Europe. Erdman co-founded davidclovers (now plusClover) with former partner Clover Lee where from 2006-2016 he designed and completed over twenty built projects in Hong Kong, China and North America. In addition to the receipt of numerous awards and having work from both firms exhibited and collected in museums, Erdman was awarded the prestigious Rome Prize in 2008-2009.

In addition to Pratt, Erdman has taught at UCLA and HKU and held visiting positions at various universities including Yale, UC Berkeley and Rice University. He is the author of Introducing (AR+D 2021), Pratt Sessions Volumes 1 and 2 (ORO 2018, 2020) and co-author of Future Real (Yale SoA 2018). He has lectured throughout Asia, North America and Europe. Erdman is currently working on several books and a series of collaborative design research projects with government organizations in New York City and Hong Kong.


Debora Mesa Molina
Principal, Ensamble Studio
Ventulett Chair, Georgia Tech
Bio: expand

Débora Mesa Molina, (Madrid, 1981) is European Licensed Architect and principal of Ensamble Studio, a cross-functional team she leads with her partner Antón García-Abril, based in Madrid and Boston. Balancing imagination and reality, art and science, their work innovates typologies, technologies and methodologies. From their early works – Hemeroscopium House or The Truffle- to their most recent – Ca’n Terra and Ensamble Fabrica -, every project makes space for experimentation aiming to advance their field. Currently, through their startup WoHo, they are developing ways to increase quality and affordability in architecture through the integration of offsite technologies.

Debora is committed to sharing ideas and cultivating synergies between professional and academic worlds through teaching, lecturing and researching: she is Ventulett Chair in Architectural Design at Georgia Tech since 2018 and previously served as research scientist at MIT where she co-founded the POPlab – Prototypes of Prefabrication – in 2012. Above all, she is a doer, committed to making poetic ideas happen.

Elora Hardy
Founder, IBUKU
Bio: expand

Elora is the Founder and Creative Director of IBUKU. The team of designers, architects and engineers that is exploring groundbreaking ways of using bamboo to build homes, hotels, schools, and event spaces in Bali, Indonesia. Creating a new design vocabulary based on this one material and exploring the way sustainable architecture and design can redefine luxury. The traditional skills of Balinese craftsmen, combined with their design ideas and modern engineering enable them to create original bamboo structures that meet the needs of a diverse clientele. “IBUKU’s goal is to provide spaces in which people can live in an authentic relationship with nature. IBUKU is creating spaces where living in nature is living in style. IBUKU has built over 72 bamboo structures in Bali, Indonesia, and 5 internationally. Completed key projects include the Green School, Green Village, Sharma Springs, and Bambu Indah Eco Resort, which have appeared in international publications like Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Vogue and the Huffington Post.

Philip Yuan
Associate Dean and Professor, College of Architecture and Urban Planning (CAUP), Tongji University
Bio: expand

Philip F. Yuan Associate Dean, tenured professor of the College of Architecture and Urban Planning (CAUP) at Tongji University, Council Member of Architects Sector, Virtual and Automated Construction Sector as well as Academic Committee of Computational Design Sector at Architectural Society of China; Director of Academic Committee of Shanghai Digital Fabrication Engineering Technology Center; Co-Chair of DigitalFUTURES Association. He founded Shanghai based firms: Archi-Union Architects and Fab-Union Technology. Yuan is also a member in the Scientific Committee of The International Association on Spatial Structures (IASS) and the International Conference on 3D Printing and Transportation3D Printing and Transportation (3DTRB).

His research mainly focuses on the field of performance-based architectural tectonics, the application of robotic fabrication equipment as weak as developments of robotic fabrication technologies and is able to realize many of his research theories in architectural practices.

Jing Liu
Co-Founding Principal, SO-IL
Visiting Professor, Pratt Institute
Bio: expand

Jing Liu has been practicing for more than 15 years working on a wide range of projects both in the US and abroad. Through building practice and interdisciplinary research projects, Liu has led SO–IL in the engagement with the socio-political issues of contemporary cities — in projects like the Artists Loft North Omaha and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in Cleveland. Her projects range from artistic collaborations with contemporary choreographers and visual artists to master plan and major public realm design in cities like Melbourne and Indianapolis. Liu brings an intellectually open, globally aware, and locally sensitive perspective to architecture. Her intellectual curiosity and artistic imagination allow her to bring a more nuanced cultural perspective to the table. Her keen skills in combining digital technology with traditional craft and firm belief in design’s ability to re-engage people with the physical world around them allow the buildings she designs to become places of exchange that welcome interpretation and transformation.

Roundtable Conversation 3:

FUTURE PRACTICE: Challenges and Opportunities of Technology Integration in Building Engineering

Wednesday 31 March, 9:30 am, Hong Kong

Moore’s law predicts the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit to double approximately every two years. This means that every 24 months, computational devices can perform their tasks twice as fast. For over 50 years, this theory has held up. In the meantime, while our industry still considers decade-old BIM technology to be “new”, Automation, Machine Learning, and Artificial intelligence are increasingly taking over the laborious and repetitive tasks that are part of our design and engineering work.

Designers will in the future interface with machines through AI assistants and use human qualities, such as creativity, emotion, inter-human relationships, experience, and common sense to make decisions. At Arup Group we are currently developing a design automation platform called “Total Design Automation” (TDA) which will make it easy to both develop automated workflows and use them across projects around the world. Through cloud technologies, automated design tasks are linked together by the data they produce and subsequently consume, orchestrating entire design workflows from start to end. In doing so, a gap has been exposed between what is theoretically possible and what is needed now. The biggest industry challenge is hardly ever the design and delivery of complex, iconic architecture, but to provide sufficient housing and places to work for the exponentially growing world population.

By touching on issues related to standardisation, industry skills, business strategies, and future design and delivery methodologies, this roundtable panel of experts in computational design engineering and construction will discuss how our industry can (prepare itself to) utilise future computation and automation to improve the quality of our built environment.


Ramon van der Heijden
Digital Design Leader, Arup East Asia

Ramon is Digital Design Leader at Arup East Asia. His work in Research and development, Building Information Modeling and Building Data Management has allowed him to develop a deep understanding of the technology that drives innovation in construction data management and design. Specializing in the generation of large, data rich building models has enabled him to create the Elefront add-in for Grasshopper. He is currently the Programme Director of the development of a cloud-based design automation platform that allows anyone to develop and use automated design solutions through the web.

Ramon has taught computational design at Eindhoven University of Technology, and
Construction Communication and Architectural Design at The University of Hong Kong. He has hosted seminars on Elefront at Chinese University Hong Kong, The University of
Hong Kong and for the AA Visiting School, Hong Kong. Leading the Digital Design Team, his work focuses on optimizing and digitizing existing design and engineering processes as well as exploring new business opportunities using digital design technologies.


Emidio Piermarini
Associate Director, BuroHappold
Bio: expand

Emidio is an Associate with Buro Happold Asia, where he is the lead for their new Computational Consulting offering. He works with clients in all stages of the real estate life cycle to help clients realize solutions to their most complex problems using big data and analytics. He is an early contributor to the open-source Buildings and Urban Habitat Object Model (BHoM) and believes the open-source era of AEC represents the future of our industry–design professionalswho cancommunicate and design using code.

Susanne Knorr
Global Client Development Lead Data & Analytics, Arcadis
Bio: expand

Susanne is managing the Global Client Development of Arcadis’ Data Analytics services, with a focus on driving sustainability. She is responsible for identifying opportunities to apply advanced statistical methods and solutions for key-clients, helping them to address their challenges and enhance the performance. Therefor Susanne and her team partner with the technical engineering team, focusing on analytics key methods like Data Management & Engineering, Data Visualization, Data Science & Machine Learning, NLP, Computer Vision and IoT, and the client development community across all sectors and solutions. In 2017 Susanne was selected as an Arcadis Global Shaper, in 2018 she was awarded the Start- up Digital Award. She is a mentor of Techstars X Arcadis City Accelerator 2019. In 2020 Susanne was selected for the W50 Emerging Leaders Programme by the London School of Economics and Political Science supported by the Becas Santander Scholarship.

Lai, Man Kit Thomson
Executive Director of Innovative Solutions,
Digital Transformation Lead, Greater China, AECOM
Bio: expand

Thomson Lai is a technology veteran with over 20 years of experience in the geospatial industry and is an expert in a wide variety of digital technology. He is a chartered surveyor, CIC Certified BIM Manager, and a Project Management Professional (PMP) certified project manager. Thomson’s involvement has been integral to many large- scale civil infrastructure projects, and he’s responsible for many digital solutions, including BIM processes and workflows. His recent projects include the Hong Kong International Airport Three-runway System, pilot study on underground space development for the HKSAR Civil Engineering and Development Department, study on integration of BIM & 3D spatial data for the HKSAR Lands Department, and APAC datacenter BIM managed service for multinational technology company. As an experienced technology practitioner, Thomson is a pioneer who integrates technologies — including BIM, GIS, photogrammetry, IoT, and immersive technology — for civil and infrastructure projects. He is also the Asia Digital leader of AECOM and is currently leading the digital business in Asia, pushing the adoption of digital technology across the region.

Nick Williams
Principal, Computational Design & Automation Leader, Aurecon Bio: expand

Nick Williams is a Principal at Aurecon and leads digital modelling, computational design and automation across the firm. In this role Nick has created both a distributed network of practitioners across regional teams, and a central software and business transition team. These two streams enable both a nimble response to specific project needs, and the creation of standards and tools to reshape engineering and design services at scale. Prior to joining Aurecon, Nick trained as an architect and practiced in Australia and Europe. He has a Masters degree from The Architectural Association, London, and a PhD from RMIT University, Melbourne. In academic roles, Nick has led various applied research around digital design and construction, prototyping data-driven approaches across multiple scales, materials and types of performance. He has also authored over 20 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers and remains a regular contributor to several academic forums.

Roundtable Conversation 4:

FROM LAB TO SITE: Promises of Disruptive Technology Implementations in AEC

Wednesday 31 March, 20:00 pm, Hong Kong (08:00 am, New York / 13:00 pm, London)

Having overcome the debate of the transition between the digital and the physical, architectural design faces a challenge about applying lab research into real-life scenarios to produce a true impact in our society. Whereas technology keeps driving definitive changes in architecture education and research, the demand for disruptive technological solutions addressing humanity’s future challenges, behest a clear position on how to move beyond ‘the lab’ in the short, mid, and long term.

From the development of discrete ‘chunky’ architectures based on the mass production of building components, to the proposition of smart architectures from a material perspective that can self-assemble into complex objects and spaces, to the final realization of a digital continuum from the 3d model to the physical environment using robots collaborating in a coordinated dance, lab research is under scrutiny. The proposition of building systems and narrow applications representing the state-of-the-art research faces questions about their real impact in our society in the short, mid, and long term. Can architecture – through computational design – drive the necessary changes in the light of the challenges humanity will face in the next 30 to 50 years? Furthermore, what are the necessary steps that could lead to a disruptive implementation of the promising research that lays in lab setups’ boundaries?


Diego Pinochet
Professor, School of Design, UAI Chile
PhD Researcher, MIT

Diego Pinochet is a Professor at the School of Design at UAI Chile, a PhD student at the Design and Computation group at MIT, researcher at the Encoded elements lab in the International Design Center at MIT, and a visiting Ph.D. Student at the Human-computer interaction group at MIT CSAIL. He holds a B.Arch and a M.Arch in the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUC) and a Master of Science in Architectural Studies (SMArchS) from MIT.

His research is focused on computational design and interactive fabrication methodologies, Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Fabrication, Building Information Modelling BIM, and Interactive Applications for creative purposes. His research is focused on advanced computational design and interactive fabrication methodologies using Artificial Intelligence. He is pursuing his PhD degree in Design and Computation at MIT with a major in Human-Computer Interaction and a minor in Machine Learning. He seeks to bridge robotic fabrication with design methodologies to push innovation in architecture and construction through his research.


Stefana Parasho
Assistant Professor, Princeton University
Bio: expand

Stefana Parascho is a researcher, architect, and educator whose work lies at the intersection of architecture, digital fabrication and computational design. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Princeton University where she founded the CREATE Laboratory Princeton and is co-leading the PhD program in Technology of Princeton’s School of Architecture. Through her research, she has explored multi-robotic fabrication methods and their relationship to architectural design. Stefana investigated computational design techniques ranging from agent-based systems to sequential design and optimisation methods. Her goal is to strengthen the connection between design, structure, and fabrication, and boost the interdisciplinary nature of architecture through the development of accessible computational tools and robotic fabrication methods. Stefana completed her doctorate in 2019 at ETH Zurich, Gramazio Kohler Research. Previously, she received her Diploma in Architectural Engineering in 2012 from the University of Stuttgart and worked with DesignToProduction Stuttgart and Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering.

Skylar Tibits
Associate Professor of Design Research, MIT
Co-director and Founder, MIT Self-Assembly Lab
Bio: expand

Skylar Tibbits is a designer and computer scientist whose research focuses on developing self-assembly and programmable materials within the built environment. Tibbits is the founder and co-director of the Self-Assembly Lab at MIT, and Associate Professor of Design Research in the Department of Architecture. He is the author of the book Self-Assembly Lab: Experiments in Programming Matter (Routledge, 2016), Active Matter (MIT Press, 2017), co-editor of Being Material (MIT Press 2019) and the Editor-In-Chief of the journal 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing. He has exhibited installations in galleries around the world, including the Centre Pompidou, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and various others. Awards include LinkedIn’s Next Wave Award for Top Professionals under 35 (2016), R&D Innovator of the Year (2015), National Geographic Emerging Explorer (2015), an Inaugural WIRED Fellowship (2014), the Architectural League Prize (2013), Ars Electronica Next Idea Award (2013), TED Senior Fellow (2012) and 2008 he was named a Revolutionary Mind by SEED magazine.

Kevin Saey
Tutor, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL Architect and Researcher, Automated Architecture (AUAR) Ltd.
Bio: expand

Kevin Saey is a London based architect and researcher at design and technology consultancy Automated Architecture (AUAR) and Automated Architecture Labs at The Bartlett. He is invested in automation, digital fabrication and computational design. With his background in both architecture, game design and digital arts, he combines various interdisciplinary techniques to develop new and innovative systems, with a focus on innovative timber construction. Currently, he is an architectural design tutor in the B-Pro Program at the Bartlett. Kevin Saey studied Digital Arts and Entertainment and Architecture in Belgium and obtained a post-professional masters from UCL The Bartlett, where he was awarded the Gold Price for his final project. His collaborative work with Gilles Retsin Architecture has been exhibited at the Tallinn Architecture Biennial in Estonia, the Royal Academy of Arts in London and Digital Futures in Shanghai.

Victor Leung
PhD Researcher, Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zurich
Bio: expand

Victor Leung received his Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies from HKU in 2011 and Master of Science in Architectural Studies (Design and Computation) from MIT in 2016. Victor is currently a PhD candidate in ETH Zurich, working on robotic assembly methods of timber structures with integral timber joints. Victor is obsessed with designing and making custom robots/machines/end effectors for various types of fabrication. He is the technical co-founder of AWAWA timber research, which focuses on the design-to-production cycle of freeform timber joinery. From 2016 to 2018, Victor worked as a technical consultant for digital artist and architects in the realization of kinetic installation and digitally fabricated bespoke components. He has taught digital fabrication and computational design courses in MIT (Boston), ETH (Zurich), HKU (Hong Kong), SUTD (Singapore) and AA Visiting School (Hong Kong).

Roundtable Conversation 5:

Encoding and Decoding Patterns of Planetary Urbanization

Thursday 1 April, 15:00 pm, Hong Kong (08:00 am, London)

In 1986 the Earth System Sciences Committee from NASA Advisory Council raised the importance of an understanding of Earth Systems, and how the complex interactions among Earth’s components affect its history and evolution. It emphasized humanity’s new role as an active participant in the Earth’s evolution and, therefore, the need to understand the consequences of human economic and technological activity on the Earth’s biochemical cycles. This planetary perspective is rising among the academic community, bringing back epistemological questions that challenge a city-centric approach to the urban phenomenon. The alternative is the concept of “Planetary Urbanization” to describe the extensive, uneven urban fabric shaped in a neoliberal global context.

35 years after NASA’s report, the Covid-19 Pandemic demonstrates how unsuccessful humanity is in facing global challenges. Similarly, the disciplines of the built environment seem to be poorly equipped to engage with this Planetary condition. This panel will discuss the positions and approaches that urban designers can adopt to take advantage of the advances in global observations, information systems, and computational methods for the analysis and planning of landscapes, urban and infrastructural systems in the context of Planetary Urbanization. How can we challenge the negative externalities and consequences of a capital-driven Earth System in which a large variety of agents interact in a non-linear way, returning different levels of organization and hierarchies, each of them ruled by their own laws?

This roundtable will bring together researchers with different areas of expertise around the analysis and modelling of natural and urban environments as complex adaptive systems, enquiring how global indicators and changes occurring at the Planetary scale require the incorporation of emerging disciplines. It will explore how the incorporation of decision-making and behaviour might help to inform design scenarios, in the context of a non-linear Planetary Urbanization.


Enriqueta Llabres-Valls
Lecturer, the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Mittelsten Scheid Guest Professor, Wuppertal University

Enriqueta Llabres-Valls is a Lecturer in Architecture and Urbanism at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, and Mittelsten Scheid Guest Professor in the Faculty of Architecture and Engineering at Wuppertal University. She holds a degree in Architecture from UPC, Barcelona, and Local Economic Development from the London School of Economics. Her research interest expands from the studies of the built environment to local development concepts such as environmental policy and regulation, globalization, and inequalities.

In her career, she has focused on integrating the concept of Relational Capital in the design process. She leads with Zach Fluker Research Cluster 18 in the MArch Urban Design BPro at the Bartlett. Her career in the practice has been awarded on numerous occasions since she co-founded Relational Urbanism in 2009. In 2017 she co-founded LlabresTabony Architects; Relational Urbanism continues its mission as Relational Urbanism Lab under the umbrella of LlabresTabony Architects.


Michael Weinstock
Chair of Academic Committee,
Founding Director, Emergent Technologies and Design Programme, The AA School of Architecture
Bio: expand

Dr Michael Weinstock is an Architect and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is the Founder and Director of the Emergent Technologies and Design program and Director of Research and Development at the Architectural Association. Whilst his principal research and teaching have been conducted at the Architectural Association, he has published and lectured widely at many other schools of architecture worldwide. His long-term interdisciplinary research agenda, The Evolution of Sentient Cities, focuses on the development of ‘metabolic’ and intelligent urban infrastructures that interconnect buildings, cities and conurbations with a special focus on the evolution of adaptive and responsive systems of existing cities and on developing new paradigms for sentient cities in extreme climates and ecological contexts. His upcoming book is titled “The Architecture of Intelligence: The Evolution of Sentience and the City“ (Wiley Academy).

Ying Jin
Reader in Architecture and Urbanism,
Director, the Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies, University of Cambridge
Bio: expand

Dr Ying Jin lectures on city planning, urban design, and urban modelling. He is particularly interested in understanding how technology, policy and human behaviour affect the development of cities and their infrastructure, and in using this knowledge to create new design solutions. At the Department of Architecture, he leads the Cities and Transport Research Group, which is one of the world’s leading centres in the creation and use of conceptual and practical models for cities and city-regions. Among a wide range of research projects, Dr Jin leads the city-scale data science and urban modelling applications at the EPSRC Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction. Dr Jin is the current Director of the Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies, and is the lead convenor of the international symposia on Applied Urban Modelling. He currently leads the COVID-19 related modelling efforts in Cambridge within the Royal Society’s Rapid Assistance in Modelling the Pandemic (RAMP) programme.

Rosalea Monacella
Design Critic in Landscape Architecture, Harvard GSD
Co-founder, OUTR Research Lab, RMIT
Bio: expand

Rosalea Monacella is a registered Landscape Architect and has undertaken research on a number of cities around the world, and generated urban masterplans that explore design at the nexus of the urban and natural environments. She has been the recipient of a number of national and international awards and grants related to her practice-based research as co-founder of the OUTR Research Lab at RMIT University Melbourne, Australia. Rosalea’s expertise is in the transitioning of the urban environment through a careful indexing and shifting of dynamic resource flows that inform the landscape of contemporary cities. As Chief Editor for 10 years, she has led the development of Kerb Journal to become a significant publication in the discipline that engages and challenges the discourse of landscape architecture. She holds a PhD from RMIT University, a Master’s in Landscape Urbanism from the AA School London, UK, and a Bachelor of Architecture from RMIT University.