Special Sessions

Special Sessions are sessions exploring novel experimental topics that extend the general conference themes. Each special session is formulated by expert researchers and gathers up to 6 speakers presenting key contributions on the session theme. All interested authors are entitled to propose a special session and to submit contributions to the special sessions for review. 


• Special-session Proposal Form

• Terms and conditions 

Resilient built environment and communities, pre and post-disaster


Faculty of Engineering, 
University of Leeds
Leeds, Great Britain


School of Architecture
University of Portsmouth
Portsmouth, Great Britain

Climatic crisis and natural hazards, such as earthquake, flooding, and draughts are strongly modifying our built environment around the world. Architecture and Civil Engineering play a key role in making the urban and built environment more resilient to respond to both future crisis and recover from previous crisis. This session invites papers that explore multi-disciplinary approaches, linking architecture, structural and environmental design and retrofit, aiming to explore:

  • How to adapt/transform our built environment to develop housing and neighbourhoods to make it resilient to current and future shocks.
  • How to “Build Back Better” during post-disaster reconstruction. Looking at post-disaster housing strategies, resettlements, shelters, integration of structural design with UN-Habitat principles for adequate housing, and the long-term social implications.

Reimagining bureaucracy: Challenging the Structure and Architecture of legal Frameworks

Henriette Ejstrup

Architecture, Design & Media Technology
Aalborg University
Aalborg, Denmark 

Pelle Munch- Petersen      

Centre for Industrial Architecture
Royal Danish Academy 
Copenhagen, Denmark

The legal frameworks of architecture are seldomly considered in the initial concept of the architectural idea – let alone discussed in architectural practice and academia. Whether we like it or not, legislations always come beforehand the actual building. Within the last century, legislations in building culture has gone from non-existing to micromanaging everything from indoor climate and levels of natural daylight, energy performance, to the functional aspects of materiality. In the coming years sustainability will become a more central part of legislation, which marks this as the time, where the building industry, professionals and researchers across boarders must discuss, what knowledge we can draw from to secure a safe transition into a sustainable building culture. And the time to be vigilant in addressing the question whether the increasing focus upon legislations in fact provide the framework for a sustainable building culture?

This special session calls for research and discussions to bring forth what knowledge can be utilized from the last decades of increasing legislative requirements? Which aspects of the legal framework works well and which do not, in regards to achieving productive architecture as a whole? Can the legal framework be hacked for better or worse, and how do we implement new requirements of sustainability, without making unforeseen legislative pit falls, that may cause more damage instead of insuring a safe common future?

Towards a Robotic Structuralism

mikkel k. kragh

Civil and Architectural Engineering
Aarhus University
Aarhus, Denmark

roberto naboni

Civil and Architectural Engineering,
University of Southern Denmark
Odense, Denmark

This session celebrates critically the advent of robotics, and its agency onto the design, conception, and realization of architectural structures. Over the last decade, research in architectural and construction robotics has spread worldwide, in research, education, and practice. Novel material practices, structural complexity, computationally inspired tectonics are emerging as the popularisation of robotics allows designers to experiment, seamlessly, with digital design and fabrication processes. This special session will revolve around fundamental questions: how do we benefit from robots towards a more performative, creative, and efficient structuralism? How do we translate current experimental processes into the practice of the future?

The Future of Bridges: A roadmap towards circular and inclusive bridge design

Joris Smits

Department of Architectural Engineering + Technology
TU Delft & Ney & Partners 
Delft, The Netherlands

Martin Knight

Bridges + Infrastructure
Knight Architects 
High Wycombe, United Kingdom                               

Bridges lie at the heart of our civilization bringing growth and prosperity into peoples every days life. However, bridges are more than mere functional assets. A well designed bridge reflects mankind’s creativity and ingenuity and tells us something about our identity. However, our identity is not static. Just as social values are rapidly changing under influence of political polarization and climate crisis, the way that our bridges are commissioned and designed needs to change too.

This special session addresses the call for circular bridge design, as well as the call for an inclusive design process in which users and inhabitants can participate with local knowledge. Therefore, topics for his session can offer a technological approach, addressing new materials and computational methods to achieve better bridges. Or they can focus on the design process and the procurement of our bridges, offering ways to include the public and enhance public support.  The goal is to identify a design approach, through all scales of the design, that leads to bridges that are sustainable, future proof and that are valued by society.

The architecture and structure of human wellbeing

Jonas Holst

School of Architecture and Technology                      
San Jorge University
Zaragoza, Spain

Tenna Doktor Olsen Tvedebrink

Department of Architecture, Design & Media Technology
Aalborg University
Aalborg, Denmark 

Which role do architecture and engineering play in facilitating human wellbeing, and how can architects and engineers succeed in enhancing it further? These will be two of the main research questions for the proposed Special Session, which will not only center on topics related to health and healing in relation to the built environment, but considers the question of human wellbeing in broader terms: It entails among other things, as Jørn Utzon once stated, raising our embodied consciousness of the impact of the light and the sounds, the materials and the structures, such as stairs and walls, on our dwelling in and transition through built space.


Mette Ramsgaard

Centre for IT & Architecture 
Royal Danish Academy 
Copenhagen, Denmark

Paul Nicholas

Centre for IT & Architecture 
Royal Danish Academy  
Copenhagen, Denmark

Carole Collet

Design & Living Systems 
Central Saint Martins UAL
London, United Kingdom  

Nancy Diniz

Design & Living Systems 
Central Saint Martins UAL
London, United Kingdom  

This panel examines how bio-based materials – materials that arise from the biosphere of abundant, renewable, non-toxic, biodegradable and chemically versatile materials - have the potential to fundamentally change the impact of building practice on our planetary boundaries. To ensure a sustainable future it is imperative that we rethink the material cultures of architecture and the built environment. As global construction activity accelerates, we need to question what materials are and how we work with them. Bio-design agendas challenge a modernist perception of resource as infinite and available without consequence, to an ecological understanding of resource as a shared global reserve to be balanced between the needs of the environment and that of humanity. The panel asks what are the emergent practices of bio-design and what methods of description can represent their inherent complexity and behaviours by positioning three key perspectives:

  • Bio-design as grown materials: new use of materials such as mycelia-, organic cellulose- and algae-based materials allow to reconsider how we can grow structurally performing materials and harvest them for the built environment

  • Bio-design as composed materials: bio-based polymers such as agar, starch and chitin allow us to consider ecologically sound alternatives to petroleum-based polymers. Their different strength-ratios and durability challenge our perceptions of performance and necessitate new use cases

  • Bio-design as living materials: synthetic biology offers new perspectives in our relation to the living allowing us to re-programme the performance of living organisms. We question what is the nature of a living architecture and how can it co-exist in sym-poetic relationships with human inhabitation?

Infrastructure design and socio-ecological agency: the (side-)effects of structures, systems and spaces

Greet De Block

Centre for Urban History                                          
University of Antwerp
Antwerp, Belgium

Ditte Bendix Lanng

Department of Architecture, Design & Media Technology
Aalborg University
Aalborg, Denmark

Infrastructure design manifests ubiquitously: transit and sewer systems, train stations, storm surge barriers, green corridors, urban spaces and bike paths. Does infrastructure have socio-ecological agency? And if so, what are the socio-ecological effects of these structures, systems and spaces? This session explores how infrastructure design as a space-shaping practice works to produce and sustain socio-ecological agency.

We invite papers that engage theoretical, analytical and/or case-based scrutiny of the social and ecological formations that infrastructure design interrelate with. This includes questions of, e.g., the distribution of the goods and the bads of infrastructure, the matters of concern present and absent in infrastructure design, the design intentions in relation to socio-spatial (side-)effects, and the futures of infrastructure design and its agency.

Materiality in Architecture and Building Design

Olga Popovic Larsen

Institute of Architecture and Technology
Royal Danish Academy 
Copenhagen, Denmark

Markus Matthias Hudert

Department of Engineering                   
Aarhus University
Aarhus, Denmark                                  

The presentations in this session explore the role of materiality in architecture and building design. In particular, they highlight projects that address different types of materials and notions of materiality – including natural and bio-composites, fiber-reinforced composites, waste materials as a new resource, metamaterials, sound, and others – and how they relate to architectural values as well as the quality of buildings and that of the built environment. Materials used in buildings are often man-made and almost always processed, and that not only since the invention of reinforced concrete and steel. With metamaterials, new possibilities for the design of materials and material properties emerge. These opportunities for configuring and re-configuring become even more relevant within the current debate on environmental issues. Until recently, building materials have primarily been chosen based on their mechanical qualities, economic criteria, and with regard to their aesthetic and culturally associated values. Today, we are far more concerned with their impact on the environment and the health of inhabitants. Together with computational design and assessment tools, the key to a novel and more sustainable building culture might lie in a new understanding and use of materials.

Low-carbon low-waste structures


Department of the Built Environment         
Aalborg University
Aalborg, Denmark



Structural Xploration Lab
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Lausanne, Switzerland

The construction sector is currently experiencing increasing pressure in the challenge to alleviate its adverse environmental effects, e.g. related to global warming, material depletion, and waste management. Structures alone account for more than 50% of embodied CO2 emissions in buildings. Addressing these challenges require constantly innovating solutions in structural design, processes and materials. In the session, strategies for low-carbon low-waste structures will be addressed, such as: use of environmentally-efficient materials, circularity through use/reuse of loadbearing elements, minimization of material use through structural optimization and construction-based design, adaptive structures and flexibility of use. Finally, it will be investigated how those strategies could establish positive synergies with the architectural design process, and influence how we will design and build in the future.

Integrated Informed Design Processes: Joining urban design, architecture and engineering for a sustainable tomorrow

Aliakbar Kamari

Department of Engineering          
Aarhus University
Aarhus, Denmark

Sofie Pelsmakers

Faculty of Built Environment    
Tampere University                        
Tampere, Finland

Carlos Bañón

AirLab (Arch. Intelligence Research Lab)
Singapore Univ. of Technology and Design

Integrated building design is growing in complexity at an exponential rate. This occurs due to the variety of involved professions and managing their internal and external collaboration, application of emerging cutting edge technologies and software (i.e. BIM), as well as the design requirements that need to be addressed, i.e. sustainability concepts and building codes. Characteristically, many significant decisions that directly affect the building performance and its relationship with the environment are taken, without complete integrated knowledge and must be revisited and reconsidered. This session opens up discussions about new research-based integrated building design processes at the conceptual stages, the interrelations and trade-offs between Urban Design, Architecture and Engineering to meet project goals towards a sustainable tomorrow.

Cellulose-Based Materials in Structures and Architecture

Jerzy Latka

Faculty of Architecture, 
Wroclaw University of Science and Technology
Wroclaw, Poland

Rebecca Bach

Institute of Structural Mechanics and Design
Technical University of Darmstadt
Darmstadt, Germany      

The session will focus on cellulose-based materials and their implementation in architectural structures. Taking into account growing need for the recyclable materials, good thermal insulation, low-cost production and minimalised ecological footprint, the session will crate the opportunity to exchange the knowledge and experiences by both professionals and academics. New structural solutions, energy efficiency, implementation of cellulose based materials in building envelope will be the main topics of the session.


6-8 JULY 2022


Aalborg University
Department of Architecture, Design & Media Technology
Rendsburggade 14
9000 Aalborg