Skip to main content



Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara
They co-founded Grafton Architects in 1978 having graduated from University College Dublin in 1974. They are Fellows of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland; International Honorary Fellows of the RIBA;  elected members of Aosdána, the eminent Irish Art organization; 2020 Pritzker Prize Laureates.

Teaching at the School of Architecture at University College Dublin from 1976 to 2002, they were appointed Adjunct Professors at UCD in 2015. They have been Visiting Professors at EPFL, Lausanne from 2010 – 2011. They held the Kenzo Tange Chair at GSD Harvard in 2010 and the Louis Kahn Chair at Yale in 2011. Currently, they are Professors at the Accademia di Archittettura, Mendrisio, Switzerland. In 2018, Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara were the Curators of the Venice Architecture Biennale. Their manifesto: Freespace was the title of the Biennale.

Grafton Architects’ projects include: The Town House Building, Kingston University London; The School of Economics, University of Toulouse 1 Capitol, Toulouse, France; Institut Mines Télécom University Building, Paris Saclay, France; The Marshall Institute for the London School of Economics; Headquarters for Electricity Supply Board with OMP Architects in Dublin.
The practice has won numerous awards for their work, including: The RIAI Institute of Architects of Ireland Gold Medal for Architecture 2007 – 2009 for Universita Luigi Bocconi, Milan, Italy; the inaugural RIBA International Prize for the Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC) in Lima, Peru in 2016; the 2020 RIBA Royal Gold Medal; L’ Équerre d’argent Prize for best building in France with Vigneau Zilio Architectes  for Toulouse School of Economics;  the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies Van der Rohe Award 2022 for Town House, Kingston University,  London.


Barnabas Calder
He is the author of Architecture: From Prehistory to Climate Emergency (Pelican, 2021), the first history of the relationship between architecture and energy. According to Professor Jeremy Till, “it develops a new frame for architectural writing which frankly makes some of the previous architectural histories look at best parochial, or at worst irrelevant in the face of the global climate crisis.”

Calder is head of the History of Architecture Research Cluster at the University of Liverpool and a trustee of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain. He is currently working on a book exploring the entanglement of energy and culture through human history, and an energy-history of the British modernist architect Denys Lasdun.

Twitter/Instagram: @BarnabasCalder
LinkedIn address:
Book link:


Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki and Samuli Woolston, ALA Architects

They are the design principals of the Helsinki-based architects’ office ALA Architects specializing in demanding cultural buildings, transportation architecture and modernist renovation projects. The trio founded the office in 2005 together with architect Janne Teräsvirta after having won 1st prize in the open international design competition for the new theater and concert hall, Kilden Performing Arts Centre, in Kristiansand, Norway. All three of them have over 20 years of professional experience, mostly in designing large public buildings both in Finland and abroad. On the side of the daily office work, they have taught advanced studios in public building design at the three Finnish schools of architecture, as well as at Columbia GSAPP and Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts’ Helsinki International Semester. In 2012 they received the prestigious Finnish State Prize for Architecture.

One of the frontrunners of a new generation of Nordic architecture practices, ALA is committed to seeking fresh angles, flowing forms and surprising solutions on all levels of architecture. The designers challenge themselves to provide alternatives, develop prototypes and look for innovations. They trust in beauty achieved by combining the intuitive with the analytic, the practical with the extravagant, and the rational with the irrational. The three principals are directly involved with all aspects of the office’s design work. In addition to the aforementioned Kilden, ALA’s built works include Helsinki Central Library Oodi, the new departures and arrivals building of Helsinki Airport, five stations along the Helsinki metro line, as well as the renovations of two landmark buildings by the architect couple Pietilä: the Finnish embassy in New Delhi and the Dipoli building at Aalto University’s Otaniemi campus. Of the office’s current projects, La Ruche, the new learning center of Lumière Lyon 2 University in Bron, France; the extension of the Estonian Business School campus in Tallinn, Estonia; and Nokia’s new office and production facilities in Oulu, Finland, are all under construction, whereas the new facilities of the Espoo Theatre and altogether five new high-rises in Espoo and Helsinki are still on the drawing board.”



John Schellnhuber

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber currently holds the position of Director General at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria. His career includes leading as the Founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) from 1992 to 2018. 

Since 2019, Schellnhuber has directed his focus towards the transformation of the built environment, specifically advocating for the climate restoration potential of regenerative architecture. He is Founder of Bauhaus Earth and actively contributes as a member of the New European Bauhaus High-Level Roundtable. Schellnhuber’s expertise extends across various esteemed institutions, including his role as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University (Beijing). With a prolific publication record of around 300 scientific articles and books covering fundamental physics, complex systems analysis, climate-change research, sustainability science, and interdisciplinary studies, Schellnhuber is recognized as a Highly Cited Researcher (Cross Field) by Clarivate, showcasing the profound impact of his multidisciplinary contributions. 


Hilda Rantanen
She is Interior Architect SIO, UX/Graphic Designer, founder and CEO of Materialisting Platform Service. Through Materialisting, she wants to contribute to the green transition of the built environment, and to develop innovative approaches that will ensure the continued meaningfulness of design work in the midst of the significant transformation happening in the industry. Her background in Interior Architecture (SIO) and UI/Graphic Design, coupled with her experience across a diverse spectrum of projects, particularly in the realm of real estate development, has endowed her with a comprehensive understanding of the industry’s evolution from both the perspectives of real estate owners, as well as that of the designers, construction professionals and manufacturers.


David Benjamin
He is Director of AEC Research at Autodesk and Associate Professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. His work combines research and practice, with a focus on an expanded and actionable framework of environmental sustainability. Recent projects include the Airbus NIS Engine Factory (a low-carbon lighthouse project for the future of manufacturing), the Princeton University Embodied Computation Lab (a new building for research on robotics and IoT), and Hy-Fi (a branching tower for the Museum of Modern Art made of a new type of biodegradable brick). He edited the book “Embodied Energy and Design: Making Architecture Between Metrics and Narratives.”




Ehab Sayed
Dr Ehab Sayed is founder and Chief Evolution Officer at Biohm and Board Member of Fast Forward 2030, is a regenerative design engineer, strategic biomimic, and built environment innovator that strives to realise a biomimetic (nature-inspired) future that harmonises and realigns cultural and natural systems. He founded Biohm to develop nature-inspired biotechnologies aimed at decarbonising industries through scaling ground-breaking regenerative products and systems. Leading solid teams of passionate and talented designers, engineers, scientists, and business innovators from around the globe, he is working towards revolutionising economies to secure the future of humanity without impeding other species’ evolutionary pathways – a march toward biosynergy.

LinkedIn Address:


Thomas Brogren

After more than 20 years as a conservation architect on design studios and construction sites, Thomas Brogren currently works as project manager at the philanthropic association Realdania in Denmark, which initiates innovative development projects and distributes financial support for research and built projects in Denmark. He combines practical experience and theoretical knowledge from his Nordic post-graduate Master program in Architectural Cultural Heritage (NORDMAK).

One of the goals of Realdania’s work is to promote a vibrant building culture – ensuring that the historic buildings and cultural environments can continue to be good settings for everyday life and live up to today’s expectations for function and sustainability. The “Building Culture and Climate” initiative focuses on modernist building culture from the period 1930-75. The aim is to show that it is possible to reduce climate impact in a life-cycle perspective while preserving and renewing the special qualities of this period. 

Thomas Brogren | LinkedIn
More presentation about Realdania (in English) Realdania
More presentation about his work (only I Danish)
Bygningskultur og Klima ( 
Klimadata for renovering (
Bygningskultur og Klima (


Helena Mattsson
 She is Professor of Theory and History at KTH School of Architecture. Her research focuses on recent history and the interdependency between politics, economy, and spatial organizations. She is the co-editor of Swedish Modernism (Black Dog, 2010); the themed issue “Architecture and Capitalism: Solids and Flows” (Architecture and Culture, 2017); Neoliberalism on the Ground (Pittsburgh University Press, 2021), and the author of the monograph Architecture & Retrenchment: Neoliberalization of the Swedish Model, 1968-1994 (Bloomsbury, 2023). She is on the editorial board of Journal of Architecture.



Emma Johansson and Willem van Bolderen, Studio Puisto Architects

Founded in 2014 by five partners, Studio Puisto Architects has evolved into a multi-disciplinary team specializing in hospitality design worldwide. Puisto means “park” in Finnish – it’s a nod to the studio’s guiding principle of designing sustainably, for people and nature. Their work has earned international recognition, with recent accolades including the Wallpaper* Design Award and the Architizer A+Award.

Emma Johansson is one of the co-founders of Studio Puisto Architects and has her entire career been working with sustainable hospitality projects. She is passionate about creating experiences and designing environments that evoke feelings of presence and serenity for the users, whether achieved through neuroaesthetics or a deep connection to nature. Emma thinks the connection between built and unbuilt has endless potential and finds inspiration in nature.

Willem van Bolderen, an M.Sc. Architect and also a co-founder of Studio Puisto Architects, shifted from aspiring to be an inventor as kid to developing a passion for wood. Since 2015, he has been sharing that passion whilst teaching wood architecture at Aalto University of Technology. In his designs, Willem seeks motives that resonate on various levels, spanning from social and environmental considerations to the inherent characteristics of the materials involved.

Studio Puisto Architects, on the left symposium speakers Willem van Bolderen and Emma Johansson with Mikko Jakonen, Sampsa Palva and Heikki Riitahuhta.

Ella Kaira (b. 1992), on the left, is a Helsinki-based architect interested in the role of local knowledge in preserving modern built heritage. Ella graduated from Aalto University in Finland and studied also at École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Belleville in France. Her work experience spans from building design and urban design to restoration architecture, with a strong emphasis on fostering community resilience. Together with Matti Jänkälä, Ella has founded the architectural practice Vokal.

Matti Jänkälä (b. 1995), on the right, is a Helsinki-based architect working in research and the arts. Matti studied architecture at Aalto University in Finland and ETH Zürich in Switzerland and is the co-founder of the architectural practice Vokal. Matti advocates modern built heritage and justice in urban development. His interests lie primarily in repairing and caring for the existing built environment instead of new construction. He also focuses on how communities shape their environment without architects.

Vokal is a Helsinki-based architectural practice focusing on participatory design. The practice examines the forces that drive urban development, ranging from the real estate market to social movements, by employing methods of storytelling, art, and research.