DDes Conference ’23: Embodied Climates

pink, green, and purple abstract swirls overlayed with text that reads Embodied Climates

Event Description

This event is both for in-person attendance and online viewing. No registration is required. You can access the live-streamed via Zoom.

Titled “Embodied Climates,” the conference invites designers of an inclusive world to view climate in its power to affect human health, mental well-being, socio-political conditions, and cultures of ecology through subjective, embodied ways of knowing. The symposium will situate architecture at the core of influencing necessary change by acknowledging the built environment’s agency in the way that humans embody, respond, and react to changing climatic conditions. The conference will look at climate change not in terms of abstract data tables and figures but rather through more immediate and embodied ways of knowing. Whether that be addressing the reconstruction of local ecologies due to resource-exhausting labor practices of the past, or looking at the ways architecture acts as a prosthetic for human comfort in supposedly hostile climates, questions that the symposium hopes to answer are:

  • How does embodiment affect our understanding of the climate crisis and the way this crisis is narrativized? How might we understand the imperatives of climate stewardship and sustainability through means other than scientific analyses, data speculation, and financial loss?
  • How might differing definitions of “embodiment” and “climate” press upon, compliment, or denaturalize one another?
  • What are the factors and externalities that make the very notion of climate subjective through embodiment? How might ongoing discourses around resilience and climate change shape understandings of racial, sexual, gender, class, and other socio-political norms?

The conference entangles three thematics — Tectonics, Politics, and Health — and will culminate in a keynote speaker session.

This event will be live-streamed via Zoom. No registration is required.



10:00 am to 11:30 am
Piper Auditorium

Moderated by Pablo Perez-Ramos

Climate Tectonics will discuss views on energy, embodied or operational, within contemporary design contexts and climatic conditions. Connections between the global, the building, and the personal scale will be made to discuss relationships between technology, human needs, and environmental sustainability.


Mohamed Ismail (Assistant Professor, University of Virginia School of Architecture)

Aaron Tobey (Doctoral Candidate, Yale University)

Austin Wade Smith (Artist | Executive Director of Regen Foundation)



11:45 am to 1:15 pm
Piper Auditorium

Moderated by Dana McKinney White

Climate Politics will discuss how gender, race, class, and other socio-political contexts can inspire emerging practices of climate activism and equity. The politicization of gender and race will be brought forth as a historical and contemporary force shaping urban renewal processes.


Davy Knittle (Assistant Professor of English, University of Delaware)

Kevin Moultrie Daye (Architectural Designer and Educator)

Malkit Shoshan (Design Critic in Urban Planning and Design, Harvard GSD | Founder, Foundation for Archieving Seamless Territory)



2:15 pm to 3:45 pm
Piper Auditorium

Moderated by Martin Bechthold

Climate Health will discuss new calls for Design in the context of issues such as heat vulnerability, building-related occupant disease, and feedback loops representing the relationship between human health and environmental sustainability.


Arianna Deane (Co-Founder, A+A+A)

Alison Mears (Associate Professor of Architecture, Parsons School of Design | Co-Founder & Co-Director, Healthy Materials Lab, Parsons School of Design)

Jonsara Ruth (Associate Professor of Interior Design, Parsons School of Design | Co-Founder & Design Director, Healthy Materials Lab, Parsons School of Design)

Charu Srivastava (Post-Doctoral Researcher, Harvard Graduate School of Design)



4:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Piper Auditorium

Moderated by Ana María Leon Crespo

Opening remarks by Dean Sarah Whiting

Lydia Kallipoliti (Associate Professor of Architecture, The Cooper Union, New York |

Principal, ANAcycle thinktank), in person

Dr. Jami Weinstein (Associate Professor, Linköping University), virtually



6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Gund – Room 124

Open to all DDes faculty, Staff & Students.

Conference Chairs

Maroula Zacharias (Doctoral Candidate, Harvard GSD)

Katarina Richter-Lunn (Doctoral Candidate, Harvard GSD)

Malcolm Rio (Doctoral Candidate, Columbia GSAPP)

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].