Vera Parlac, Keynoter

ON ARCHITECTURE 2021

FACING THE FUTURE – NEW CHALLENGES

9th International Conference and Exhibition
Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Gallery of Science and Technology
Belgrade, Serbia
3-4 December 2021

vera parlac, KEYNOTER

Vera Parlac is an architect, educator and researcher focused on integrative approaches to design and practice. She is a registered architect and an associate professor at the Hillier College of Architecture and Design, at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).

MATERIAL DYNAMICS: ADAPTIVE MATERIAL SYSTEMS IN ARCHITECTURE

Abstract

Architecture as a discipline is confronted with the challenges of climate crisis and has a responsibility not only to produce sustainable buildings, but to also articulate the ways in which they can participate in processes of environmental transformation. Whether it is climate, energy, or human pressures, buildings are increasingly expected to actively respond to these forces and their mutable nature. Over the past two decades advances in material sciences, interactive technologies, robotics, and fabrication techniques led to the emergence of ‘sensing’ and ‘active’ matter as a new ground for architectural exploration. With their capacity for dynamic feedback and energy exchange, the responsive, adaptive materials have a potential to imbue architectural spaces, and the built environment in general, with some of the properties of living organisms and to potentially change the relationships between architecture, its inhabitants and its surrounding.

This talk will explore ecological thinking in architecture and its material manifestations through the lens of material dynamics. It will discuss the profound influence that new material technologies could have on how we design and build, and also on how design thinking may have to change in fundamental ways to fully exploit their transformative potential.


Bio

Vera Parlac is an architect, educator and researcher focused on integrative approaches to design and practice. She is a registered architect and an associate professor at the Hillier College of Architecture and Design, at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). She received a diploma engineer in architecture degree from the University of Belgrade and a master’s degree in architecture from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). At NJIT, she founded the Building Dynamics Laboratory, where design is engaged as a broadly integrative endeavor by fluidly navigating across different disciplines. Her current design research is informed by contemporary advances in biology, material science, mechatronic systems, and robotics, and is focused on responsive material systems that behave dynamically and can adapt to external and internal influences. Much of Vera’s work is described in her recent co-edited book titled “Building Dynamics: Exploring Architecture of Change” that was published in 2015 by Routledge. Her next book on “Material Dynamics: Adaptive Material Systems in Architecture” will be published by Routledge in 2022.

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