The world around us is increasingly controlled by algorithms that predict and react to our needs. As we blur the boundaries between the physical and digital realm, who will be responsible for defining our relationship with the homes, offices, and streets we inhabit? Creating empathic, human-centred spaces will be in the hands of computing innovators, making it imperative that all sectors of society are present and represented in the process. How will we translate insights emerging from psychology and neuroscience into guidelines for coding healthy and democratic architecture and urban design?
Questions & Answers
Itai is a practicing architect and researcher focusing on designing with the human experience in mind. He is Director of Hume, a science-informed architecture and urban design practice backed by research at its Human Metrics Lab.
In 2015, Itai founded the Conscious Cities movement; a new field of research and practice for building people-centred environments that are aware and responsive using data analysis, AI, tech, and behavioural science in design. Itai is the Director of The Centre for Conscious Design, a think tank focused on using design to address urban challenges facing society today and in the future. The centre publishes open-access research and organises human-centred and science-informed design events worldwide.
A fellow at The Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health (editing its inaugural journal), and at the Urban Design Forum, Itai also carries out thought leadership roles in bodies such as Harvard and Brookings Institution and is on the Advisory Council of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture.
An alumnus of The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, Itai has worked alongside the late visionary architect Jan Kaplicky at Future System on projects such as the Ferrari Museum in Modena. His design work and writing has been featured internationally and he is a regular speaker at events focused on human-centred design.
Natalia Olszewska is a practicing medical doctor. She also works as the Lead for Human Metrics Lab at HUME, the science-informed architecture and urban design studio created by the architect and researcher Itai Palti. Being a graduate in medicine (Jagiellonian Univeristy & Tor Vergata), neuroscience (Sorbonne Université & ENS), Brain and Mind studies (UCL) and ‘Neuroscience applied to Architectural Design’ (IUAV university) she works between disciplines and aims to create insights which can change our architectural and urban environment and make it more user centred. At work, she combines her deep care for people and their well-being with her passion for architecture and design. Her specific professional interest is the impact of architecture on different aspects of our lives: social, behavioural, health & well-being and cognition.
Smart urbanism has been vaguely defined so far as a set of approaches that seek to make the city more efficient and economically successful through use of digital technologies and networks. The urban future, however is not only a technical and economic problem, what seems to be overlooked is the human dimension. Some human needs are universal, but they need to be contextualised into place and geography.
Senior Architect at Studio Fuksas
Elnaz Ghazi, MArch, PhD, has practiced in Italy and in Iran. She pursued her doctoral degree in architecture at the University of ‘La Sapienza’ with title “New horizons and new potentiality of the public space: Interaction, Sociology, Communication, Technologies, Neuroscience” for improving the social interaction in the public space. Her research interests focus is specifically on the brain waves and facial expressions as a mean to capture the users’ emotions, feelings and sensations. After her Ph.D., she immediately started to collaborate with Rachel Armstrong and her research group in the field of ‘Living Architecture Systems’ at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, she gained the professional experience working with various architectural practices in the middle East and Europe, among them Fuksas Studio in Italy. At the moment she is working for the international architectural practice in Germany in the field of Computational Design. She also worked as the lecturer for the master degree program ‘Neuroscience Applied to Architectural Design’ at IUAV university in Venice. In the recent years, a variety of her personal projects was awarded and was exposed in ‘HOMI Design in Milan 2016, 2017, 2018’, ‘Expo Milan 2015’, ‘Fab10’ Barcelona 2014, ‘Maker Fair’ Rome 2014. Other awarded projects were ‘Rascacielo 2013’ for ‘ARQUITECTUM’ in Lima in Peru, ‘So.Ma’ and ‘Aleph’ for the digital crafting competition ‘Reshape’ and ‘Responsive Environment’ for the ‘CAME Design Award’. Moreover, she is an author of several scientific publications and her work has been awarded and exhibited internationally.
VP R&D at Zencity. Experienced development manager with an MSc in computer science from TAU and with a thesis in the field of Phylogenetic Trees. Anat is an IDF 8200 Alumni and a fierce advocate for women in tech. Manages and leads ZenCity’s dev and data science teams. Responsible for team deliverables, from architectural design through coding, verifications and release to production.
ZenCity is a government-focused platform leveraging AI to provide on-time visibility into the needs and preferences of the city's residents.
As well as his role as a practicing architect and scientific director of the NAAD Master's programme and the TUNED brach of Lombardini22, David is the Co-Director of the new architecture magazine ‘Intertwining’, with Sarah Robinson and Alessandro Gattara. He has carried out public and private construction projects and participated in international competitions. David is widely published and is a co-ordinator of events and publications on the subject of architecture and neuroscience.
Why could Neuroscience enhance the way architects manage the design of our artificial environment? The oxymora new/ancient alliance referred to this intertwining can correctly depict the essence of this only apparently strange liaison. Why?
Michal Gath-Morad is an architect, urban designer and PhD student at the chair of Cognitive Science at ETH Zurich. Michalʼs interdisciplinary work aims to converge the fields of Architecture, Cognitive science and Computer science to support the design and evaluation of future, human-centred built environments. Michalʼs PhD focuses on the development of pre-occupancy simulation tools and workflows to support architectural design and evaluation of future buildings. In collaboration with ETHʼs Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore, Michal applies her tools to simulate the impact of architectural design decisions on wayfinding behavior in mixed-use and crowded megastructure in urban city centres. Michal obtained her B.Arch and M.Sc from the Technion (Haifa), where she was part of a research group focused on simulating occupantsʼ behavior in hospital settings. Throughout her studies Michal won several architectural awards and was recently awarded with a Swiss Government Excellence Grant to support her PhD research.
The ability to foresee how configuration and function related design decisions impact occupants’ wayfinding is a fundamental task in architectural design. Nevertheless, the majority of simulation tools in architectural design focus on simulating physical performance aspects, such as acoustics, energy efficiency and wind flow. In contrast, the development of building simulation tools that account for human-centric performance and experience in, and of buildings, have developed more slowly. The talk will focus on the use of agent-based simulations calibrated with empirical and theoretical findings from cognitive science to simulate occupants wayfinding across several building cases including hospitals, transit hubs and shopping malls.