Dreaming of a project – Ian Ritchie 2009


Faculty of Humanities at the University of Silesia in Katowice, Faculty of Architecture at the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice, Society of Polish Town Planners Silesian Branch and Association of Polish Architects (SARP) / Branch Katowice, Metropolis GZM and Silesian Voivodship would like to invite academics and practitioners to partake in

Third International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Senses in Architecture,
Urban Landscaping and Design



In the periods of transformation of the human living environment, as a result of cultural and civilisation changes, the experiences and features of the passing epochs are revealed in human minds. This regularity materialises, among other things, in the bodily (somatic) responses/behaviours and the cognitive attitude of individuals and communities towards the heritage, technology, values, ​​and goals of representatives of past periods. Attitudes towards what is inherited can influence new choices and attitudes towards the environment, especially those elements that are important for maintaining the health of living organisms (such as sound, noise, light, or emotional reactions to specific places). Changes in attitudes and cultural habits in a changing reality are usually a consequence of the (voluntary or forced) adoption of new goals (both by individuals and communities), internalisation of the complex history of a given ecosystem, an expression of new ambitions.

Rapid technological progress in the first and second decades of the 21st century made it possible to understand better the human brain, its functions, and human response to environmental stimuli (including cultural and social ones). While technologies have significantly contributed to the deepening of knowledge about humans, their mass introduction into the environment is not necessarily beneficial for humans and nonhuman ecosystem users. Concepts of high-tech cities (especially in ​​management), such as Smart City, have been criticised in recent years, the central premise of caring for their sustainable development. In ​​design, the antidote to this condition is seen in a new trend known as Wise City. It aims to balance the inevitable impact of modern technologies on architecture through its symbiosis with ecology and human potential.

We want to look at several areas in which ecology, human and cultural knowledge and technology interpenetrate during this year’s conference. We want to check how their “symbiosis” can affect the heritage of the Anthropocene and define the challenges it poses to architecture, urban planning, and design. The areas of interest to us are:

1. NANOARCHITECTURE: It seems that in the coming years, NANOTECHNOLOGIES will be a source of new materials and a means to meet the individual needs of the user in the field of construction. Will they also define a new style in architecture? Will they revolutionise the thought, design, concept and execution process? Therefore far, the NANOARCHITECTURE based on them already can redefine the ways and forms of using environments and objects – both on a global and universal scale. NANOARCHITECTURE expresses a trend that promotes environmentally sustainable solutions to reduce the harmful effects of the global climate crisis. However, are nanotechnologies entirely safe for use? Or maybe they pose a threat to the environment and human health? How to organise cooperation between scientists, designers, industry, and investors in this area of research? The potential impact of nanotechnology on cultural heritage also seems interesting.

2. ECOLOGY AND BIOLOGY: In the third decade of the 21st century, there is a need to integrate knowledge about how architects design and what and why they should design. Global warming and the climate crisis result from an imbalance in the environment caused by expansive human activity. Energy savings and the need for buildings that reduce carbon footprints attempt to find solutions and responses to this crisis. As a result, contemporary culture is dominated by the need for sustainable design and construction. Arising in nature (nano) organisms that self-organise and then replicate, give rise to macrostructures and prototypes, inspired the development of bionic design, not only in terms of the most optimal forms but also structures. It also resulted in a change in thinking about urban structures as ecosystems. Humans are being forced to reduce solar heat transfer, look for alternative cooling methods, or save resources. It also influenced the issue of landscape heritage. Will ecosystem thinking reconcile technological development and heritage?

    3. DIGITAL DESIGN: The growing importance of digital design in architectural practice is now a fact. Discussions accompany it on the status of digital architecture, virtual space, augmented reality and design methodologies (interaction with media, digital constructions in digital environments), and the study of their unique features (topology, composition, typology, transformation), nonstandard concepts and complex geometries. The question arises whether the digital architecture enables the personalisation and contextualisation of projects, tailored to the requirements of the place, the utility program, and the individual needs of users, or does it only allow the designer to meet the need for individual expression? Is it a source of new standards? Redefines the concept of a function? Does it have an ecological dimension, and does it apply to heritage? Does the future of design have to be digital?

    4. HUMAN AND ENVIRONMENT: User-friendly design requires knowledge of how humans function in the environment. Given that a person spends most of their time in built environments, the quality of experience and health they provide for humans, and an understanding of human responses to environmental stimuli, inextricably link design to neuroscience and genetic research. The human brain controls behaviour, genes, controls the structure of the brain, and the environment affects the function of genes and, ultimately, the structure of our brain. Therefore, (neuro)biology is directly related to design. Can we use (neuro)biology and genetics to establish a framework for design decisions? An architectural object can change both our brains and our behaviour. Will the dialogue between architects, geneticists and neuroscientists ensure the design of a healthier and more functional environment?

    5. WELL-BEING: MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH: To treat urban space as an area of ​​justice and equality, it must be inclusive (pro-social), neuro-ergonomic, and humanitarian equal. Although humans are diverse, neurocognitive research has shown that certain human needs are common to our species, and equitable space should be met. The first is security. The second – the need for cognitive skills. The third is respect for moral values. These values ​​are essential to human cooperation and explain the evolutionary success of our species. The space of equality should also act towards the maintenance of allostatic control of the organism. It is threatened by excessive stimulation resulting from exposure to stress or chaos, and consequently – excessive wear and tear of the body. Are reducing stress, the number of chronic diseases, better cognitive function, and the elimination of depressive episodes attracting enough attention from designers? To what extent are they design goals?

    6. CITY BEYOND HUMAN: How to design to include nonhuman actors present in urban spaces and make them coinhabitants of these spaces? What should the city and architecture look like, which creates or influences the living conditions for various species of plants and animals – does it treat them as co-participants in urban life? How can architectural and urban design become a response to the “Anthropocene heritage” and a way to solve future challenges? Questions about the city beyond the human are also questions about life that elude designers – the ones that arise on the margins, in crevices, and on the outskirts. What is its role in urban ecosystems? Will it find a place in Wise City?

    We invite both theoreticians and practitioners whose research or activities are related to the issues mentioned above to participate in the conference. We also invite representatives of institutions responsible for spatial development and management in cities, health institutions, industry, construction, education, and social organisations – national and international.

    The conference will be organized in a hybrid formula (both stationary and online).


    10th November: submission of abstracts of speeches (registration form on the conference website)
    13th November 2021: decision on acceptance/rejection
    15th November 2021: conference fee payment (300 zł or 70 Euro)
    20th November 2021: distribution of organisational details
    20th November 2021: registration for listeners

    IMPORTANT DATE FOR PARTICIPANTS INTERESTED IN THE PUBLICATION OF THE ARTICLE (high-quality articles will be considered to publish in Brill Publishing House):

    15th December 2021: submission of the full texts for review


    Charges from Poland – 300 zł
    ING Bank Śląski 60 1050 1230 1000 0002 0211 3056

    Charges from abroad – 70 euro
    SWIFT CODE INGBPLPW IBAN PL60 1050 1230 1000 0002 0211 3056