Eternal buildings in future cities

Konferenz, Roma/online

Innovation series
23.11.2023 H14:30-18:30
24.11.2023 H10:30-18:00
Entrance: via Liguria 20


Innovation series
23.11.2023 H14:30-18:30
24.11.2023 H10:30-18:00
Entrance: via Liguria 20

The conference will be held in English at Istituto Svizzero in Rome and online. Simultaneous translation into Italian will be provided both on site and online. 

To attend in Rome on 23.11.2023, register here.
To attend in Rome on 24.11.2023, register here.

To follow online on 23.11.2023, register here.
To follow online on 24.11.2023, register here.

Istituto Svizzero
Via Liguria 20, Rome
Free entrance

Eternal buildings in future cities  

Buildings and the public urban space have a close relationship and shape each other. The interdisciplinary conference Eternal buildings in future cities will explore this relationship. On the one hand, it is dedicated to the question of how houses will have to be designed, planned, and built in the future to be used and maintained as long as possible. On the other hand, it focuses on the public space in the constantly changing urban and social fabric. What kind of urbanism and architecture allows people to build a relation with their neighborhood and their city?

Our Western building culture has always been characterized by the principle of durability of materials and constructions. Houses should be constructed to be durable and as low-maintenance as possible. At the same time, houses that are continuously maintained and cared for can of course be durable despite the use of impermanent materials. 

The prevailing trend in large parts of Europe to demolish buildings prematurely and replace them with new buildings shows that the useful life of a house is not only determined by the life of its components alone, but by a wide variety of aspects – beyond materiality and construction. As part of the real estate economy and land price policy, for example, houses are subject to developments that are only influenced to a limited extent or not at all by their material value. However, at stake are also functionality (polyvalence and redundancy of spaces), user/ownership (who uses a house, who owns it?), the adaptability and reparability of houses as well as legal framework conditions and norms. 

The conference presents five panels to discuss challenges and potentials of today’s building culture in (future) cities, from the maintenance, preservation, durability, and adaptability of building constructions to social questions regarding the urban space and housing.

In collaboration with ETH Zurich and Tor Vergata University of Rome.
Panel 5 has been co-organized with Swissnex in India, Swissnex in Brazil, the Embassy of Switzerland in Pretoria, the Embassy of Switzerland in Singapore.

Organizing board:
Dr. Maria Böhmer
Prof. Dr. Tullia Iori
Prof. Dr. Silke Langenberg
Prof. Dr. Elli Mosayebi


Thursday 23.11.2023

H14:30 ― Welcome coffee

H14:45 ― Welcome and Introduction

Maria Böhmer, Istituto Svizzero
Silke Langenberg, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH)
Elli Mosayebi, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH)

H15:00-16:30 ― PANEL 1: Maintenance and preservation of existing buildings
Moderation: Silke Langenberg

Maria Conen, Conen Sigl Architekt:innen and Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH), To adapt
Maria Vittoria Capitanucci, Politecnico di Milano, Rethinking Modernity 
Philipp Esch, Esch Sintzel Architekten and Università della Svizzera italiana, Mendrisio, Aufgehoben


H16:30 ― Coffee break

17:00-18:30 ― PANEL 2: The city as shared public space
Moderation: Elli Mosayebi

Philippe Koch, Zurich University of Applied Sciences and Arts (ZHAW), Public spaces after the age of the city
Katrin Gügler, Amt für Städtebau Zürich, The growing city: A laboratory for the new building culture
Anna Karla De Almeida Santos, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Corporate Urbanism: The Past, Present, and Future of Company Towns and Public Space Governance


Friday 24.11.2023

H10:30 ― Welcome Coffee

H11:00-12:30  PANEL 3: Durability and adaptability of future constructions
Moderation: Silke Langenberg

Charlotte Malterre-Barthes, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Take Care! A Moratorium on New Construction
Anna-Laura Pisello, Università degli Studi di Perugia, Prioritizing People: A Human-Centric Approach to Tackle Urban Heat Islands and Elevate Wellbeing
Christian Inderbitzin, EMI Architekt:innen and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), A Maintenance Plan for Architecture


H12:30 ― Break

H14:30-16:00  PANEL 4: The building as home, the city as habitat
Moderation: Elli Mosayebi

Elena Dorato, Università degli Studi di Ferrara, Our cities are (not) for people
Andrea Benze, University of Applied Sciences Munich, Towards the City as Inclusive Urban Habitat
Christina Schumacher, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), Time to get real – Coexistence as the old new leitmotif for the city as habitat?


H16:00 ― Coffee Break

H16:30-17:40  PANEL 5: Eternal buildings in Future Cities: Global Perspectives
Moderation: Elli Mosayebi, Silke Langenberg

Srilalitha Gopalakrishnan, Associate Director Research, Singapore-ETH Centre Future Cities Laboratory Global and President of Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects (online), Dense and Green Cities for a nature-positive future
Tereza Herling, Mackenzie Presbyterian University, Brazil (online)
Brazilian Movements Reimagining Living Cities
Joel Baur, Co-Founder of Citra architecture and construction company, South Africa (online)
Prasad Vaidya, Senior Advisor at Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) and Director of Solar Decathlon India, India (online), Sustainable Cooling for Future Cities



Speakers’ biographies here.

The event may be photographed and/or video recorded for archival, educational, and related promotional purposes. By attending this event, you are giving your consent to be photographed and/or video recorded.