Courtesy Andrés Jaque & Ivan L. Munuera
Professor Harriet Harris & Professor Timothy Morton

1 / 3


The World Around, a new platform dedicated to the ‘now, near and next’ in architectural culture will curate an online symposium on Earth Day, Wednesday 22nd April, in collaboration with Facebook as part of the first “Virtual Design Festival”. The event will be free and takes place live on the Virtual Design Festival website, where we present new content and conversations commissioned from over twenty international voices who are leading a new and exciting global discourse on environmental design. Amid the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, The World Around’s Earth Day online symposium remains committed to uniting and mobilizing the global architecture and design community around the most pressing issues of our time: the now, near and next for architecture, spatial and environmental design.  



  • Cooking Sections speak with Maite Borjabad Watch now
  • Nelly Ben Hayoun Sepake Angiama Watch now
  • Harriet Harriss Timothy Morton




Studio Ossidiana & Mariana Pestana

Studio Ossidiana is a practice based in Rotterdam that works at the intersection of architecture, visual arts and design, led by Alessandra Covini and Giovanni Bellotti. They will be in conversation with Dr Mariana Pestana, the chief curator of the 2020 Istanbul Design Biennial, ‘Empathy Revisited’. Dr Pestana is an idependent curator interested in critical social practice and the role of fiction in design for an age marked by technological progress and an ecological crisis.

Nelly Ben Hayoun & Sepake Angiama

Curator and educator Sepake Angiama, artistic director of Inava, and curator of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennale will be in conversation with French experience designer, director and founder of the University of the Underground, Dr Nelly Ben Hayoun. An award-winning director and experience designer, Dr Ben Hayoun is Designer of Experiences at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute.

Cooking Sections & Maite Borjabad

Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe) is a duo of spatial practitioners based out of London. It was born to explore the systems that organise the world through food. They will be in discussion with architecture writer and curator Maite Borjbad of the Art Institute of Chicago to discuss the way in which their research-based practice explores the overlapping boundaries between visual arts, architecture, ecology and geopolitics.

Harriet Harris & Timothy Morton

Professor Harriet Harris is dean of architecture at Pratt University, Brooklyn as well as an architect and activist and feminist. Dr Harriss will be in conversation with celebrated philosopher professor Timothy Morton, whose academic interests include literature and the environment, ecotheory, philosophy, biology, physical sciences, literary theory, food studies and much more.

Thomas Thwaites & Aric Chen

Thomas Thwaites calls himself "a designer (of a more speculative sort)." His thoughtful projects look deeply at the science behind technology, as in the Toaster Project, which sent spiralling him into the history and techniques of metallurgy and ‘Goatman’, his attempt to escape the world of humanity to become a goat. Thomas will be talking about his work with Shanghai-based design curator and critic Aric Chen, former lead curator of architecture and design at M+ and curatorial director of Design Miami.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul & Andrea Lissoni

Curator and director of Haus der Kunst, Andrea Lissoni will be in conversation with filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Working in the space between cinema and contemporary art, and originally trained as an architect, Weerasethakul creates installations, videos, short and feature films that are often non-linear and transmit a strong sense of dislocation and otherworldliness.

Kunlé Adeyemi

Kunlé Adeyemi is a Nigerian architect, urbanist and creative researcher. Adeyemi is founder and principal of NLÉ, an architecture, design and urbanism practice, based in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. Adeyemi was awarded the Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2018 and has been widely recognised for his project Makoko Floating School, a prototype floating structure, built for the historic water community of Makoko in Lagos, Nigeria.

Andrés Jaque & Ivan. L. Munuera

Andrés Jaque is director of the Advanced Architectural Design Program at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. In 2003 he founded the Office for Political Innovation (OFFPOLIN), bringing a transectional approach to architectural design; practicing architecture as the intervention on complex composites of relationships, where its agency is negotiated with the agency unfold by other entities. For this project for Earth Day, Jaque collaborates with Ivan L. Munuera, a New York-based scholar, critic, and curator working at the intersection of culture, technology, politics, and bodily practices in the modern period and on the global stage. Since 2015 he is developing his dissertation on the architecture of HIV/AIDS at Princeton University.

Walter Hood

Walter Hood is a landscape and public artist creating urban spaces that resonate with and enrich the lives of current residents while also honoring communal histories. Hood melds architectural and fine arts expertise with a commitment to designing ecologically sustainable public spaces that empower marginalized communities. Over his career, he has transformed traffic islands, vacant lots, and freeway underpasses into spaces that challenge the legacy of neglect of urban neighborhoods.

Cameron Sinclair

Cameron is a trained architect and community leader with 20+ years experience creating and implementing community development programs, educational programs, post-disaster and post-conflict reconstruction and social impact initiatives. Having worked in 58 countries and developed shelter solutions to over two million people his recent activities have included building schools for 4500 refugee children in Jordan, mobile COVID19 health centers and advising on cultural sustainability and preservation projects in Japan and South Africa.

Kalyanee Mam

Kalyanee Mam is an award-winning filmmaker whose work is focused on art and advocacy. Born in Battambang, Cambodia, during the Khmer Rouge regime, Kalyanee immigrated to the United States in 1981 with her family. Her debut documentary feature, A River Changes Course, won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and the Golden Gate Award for Best Feature Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival. She has directed the award-winning shorts Lost World and The Fight for Areng Valley and is currently working on a new feature documentary, The Fire and the Bird’s Nest.

Minerva Cuevas

Through the intervention of images and objects of daily consumption, Minerva Cuevas invites us to rethink the role corporations play in food production and the management of natural resources. Employing irony and humor, her work seeks to provoke reflection about the impact that local actions can have on the enforcement of fair labor practices and the redistribution of monetary flow.

Amanda Williams

Amanda Williams is a visual artist who trained as an architect. Williams’ creative practice employs color as a way to draw attention to the complexities of race, place and value in cities. The landscapes in which she operates are the visual residue of the invisible policies and forces that have misshapen most inner cities. Williams’ installations, paintings and works on paper seek to inspire new ways of looking at the familiar and in the process, raise questions about the state of urban space and citizenship in America.

Design Earth & Carson Chan

Curator and writer Carson Chan will be reflecting with Design Earth, a collaborative practice led by El Hadi Jazairy and Rania Ghosn. The office’s work engages the geographic to open up a range of aesthetic and political concerns for architecture and urbanism.

Mats Rombaut & Karen van Godtsenhoven

Karen van Godtsenhoven, associate curator of The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will be speaking with Parisian designer Mats Rombaut about radical sustainability in the fashion industry. Rombaut is a multi-disciplinary creative currently based in Paris and founder of ROMBAUT, a vegan accessory brand with sustainability at its core.

Mona Chalabi

Mona Chalabi is a data journalist who lives in New York. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, New York Magazine, The Guardian and many more. She is also an illustrator whose work has been commended by the Royal Statistical Society. Her work has been exhibited at several galleries including the Tate, The Design Museum and the House of Illustration.


Elizabeth Diller and Catherine Ince
Xu Tiantian, DnA presenting The Songyang Story at The World Around NYC. All photos by Noam Galai, Getty Images
Junya Ishigami
Eva Franch i Gilabert
Caroline Criado Perez
Bruce Mau
Sold-out auditorium at TheTimesCenter

1 / 7


Dedicated to discovering and sharing the “now, near, and next” of architectural culture, the new global forum The World Around convened its first public gathering on January 25, 2020, to a fully sold-out auditorium at the Renzo Piano-designed TimesCenter in New York City. The day-long conference brought together a truly global field of practitioners and thinkers in architecture and adjacent fields including ecology, performance, sculpture, gender studies, cinema, game design, and urban planning.  Join our mailing list for all our latest event news and updates. 

Our inaugural event was broadcast live on Dezeen and is available to watch now.


Junya Ishigami

Biotop Garden

junya.ishigami+associates is one of the most exciting studios in architecture today. Established by Junya Ishigami in2004, the firm gained international recognition following the competition of the Kanagawa Institute of Technology's KAIT Workshop in 2007. The office was awarded Golden Lion for Best Project of the 12th Biennale in 2010 and just opened the Serpentine Pavilion. Image: Junya Ishigami, Botanical Farm Garden Art Biotop, 2018. Photo by junya.ishigami+associates.

Barozzi Veiga

Zürich Tanzhaus

Founded in Barcelona in 2004 by Alberto Veiga and Fabrizio Barozzi, this impressive young office was awarded Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture in 2015 for their Szczecin Philharmonic building, as well as RIBA Award for International Excellence for the FIne art Museum in Chur. Barozzi Veiga will present the latest new project, the Zürich Tanzhaus, completed in 2019. Image: Barozzi Veiga, Tanzhaus Zürich, 2019. Photo by Simon Menges.

Xu Tiantian, DnA

Rural Regeneration of Sonyang Province

Xu Tiantian is the founding principal of Beijing-based studio DnA _Design and Architecture. She has been recognised internationally for her work and was recently awarded the 2019 Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architect. She will be presenting her studio’s extensive recent work in the revitalising process of two rural regions in China, Songyang and Zhejiang Province, an extensive process involving different heritage and regions. Image: Xu Tiantian, DnA, The Songyang Story, 2019. Photo by Wang Ziling.

Emmanuel Pratt

Sweet Water Foundation

Emmanuel Pratt was awarded the MacArthur ‘Genius’ grant in 2019. He is an urban designer creating a model of resident-driven community development in neighborhoods that have suffered the effects of long-term disinvestment. Pratt is co-founder and executive director of the Sweet Water Foundation (SWF), a nonprofit organization based on Chicago’s South Side that engages local residents in the cultivation and regeneration of social, environmental, and economic resources in their neighborhoods. Image: Emmanuel Pratt, Sweet Water Foundation. Photo courtesy John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Caroline Criado Perez

Invisible Women

Writer, journalist and campaigner Caroline Criado Perez is the author of Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men. Invisible Women reveals the systematic, and often unconscious bias behind the data and assumptions that construct our everyday life. She examines a world built for men and in particular the increasing reliance in all areas on algorithms which are usually designed by, and using large amounts of data on, men which affects everything from internet search results to job applications. Image: Caroline Criado Perez, Invisible Women, 2019.

David OReilly


David OReilly is a multidisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles. He is the creator of the interactive experience and reality simulation game 'Everything'. Part game, part philosophical experiment, ‘Everything’ allows players to assume the role of almost anything in the universe, from bacteria and to bear, starlings and molecules. The work offers a way to experience our reality as a phenomenon of interdependent systems that can all perceive, think and interact differently while being driven by the same underlying rules. Image: David OReilly, Everything, 2017.

Shumon Basar

The Age of You

Guess what this century’s most valuable resource is? It’s you—and all your online behaviours, enriched data sets and millions of meta-data points. Writer, thinker and cultural critic Shumon Basar presents Age of You, an exhibition about what it means to be an individual today. Curated by Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist, with graphic design by Daly & Lyon, it includes over 70 visual contributors from the worlds of art, design, filmmaking, photography, performance and electronic music. Image: Shumon Basar, The Age of You, 2019.

Paola Antonelli

Broken Nature

One of the most influential curators in the design world, Paola Antonelli is Senior Curator of Architecture & Design at The Museum of Modern Art, as well as MoMA’s founding Director of Research & Development. Her expansive and investigative approach to curating combines design, architecture, art, science and technology. She will be presenting her 2019 exhibition Broken Nature shown at the XXII Triennale di Milano. Image: Paola Antonelli, Broken Nature, 2019. Photo by Gianluca Di Ioia.

Josh Begley

Best of Luck with the Wall

Best of Luck with the Wall is a documentary short by US digital artist Josh Begley. The film observes in striking detail of the changing geography and geometries and the expansive, complex landscape that comprises the 2,000-mile long US-Mexico border. The film was made by cutting and collages over 200,000 satellite images downloaded from Google Maps. Image: Josh Begley, Best of Luck with the Wall, 2016.

Bruce Mau

24 Design Principles

One of the most prominent names in design today, Canadian-born Bruce Mau has written and/or designed more than 200 books, including the landmark S,M,L,XL, a seminal collaboration with Rem Koolhaas. His life’s work is dedicated to applying the power of design to transforming the world. His new book, MC24 - The principles for Designing Massive Change in your Life and Work will be published by Phaidon in 2020.

Nick Axel

Are Friends Electric

Nick Axel is an editor, architect, educator and theorist. Head of the Architectural Design department at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and the deputy editor of e-flux architecture, Nick is positioned to be taking part in all the most relevant conversations in architecture today. In a new editorial project for e-flux ‘Are Friends Electric’, the publication asks: “at moment when we can no longer imagine a world without technology, it is vital to ask how we—the human inhabitants of this planet—imagine the world and its technologies?”

Ibrahim Mahama

A Friend

Living and working in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale, Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama engages in the formation of architectural spaces inspired by the promise and failure of modernity. His installations often use material cues such as worn jute sacks to draw narratives of labour and movement of goods. His work has been shown at 56, 57 and 58 Venice Biennale and documenta14. Image: Ibrahim Mahama, A Friend, 2019.

Cecilia Puga

Palacio Pereira

Based in Santiago, Chile, architect Cecilia Puga has run her practice since 1995. She has undertaken various scales of design projects from her iconic single family houses to social community work and urban planning. She will be presenting the years-long restoration and transformation of the historic 19th century Palacio Pereira into public library and exhibition halls.

Noura Al Sayeh-Holtrop

Muharraq Revitalization Project

Noura Al Sayeh-Holtrop is an architect and curator working at the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (BACA) as Head of Architectural Affairs, where she is responsible for overseeing the planning and implementation of cultural institutions, museums and exhibitions. Since 2015, she heads the ‘Pearling, Testimony of an Island Economy’, which received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the 2019 cycle as part of the Muharraq Revitalization Project. Image: Noura Al Sayeh-Holtrop, Muharraq Revitalisation Project, Pearling Path Visitor's Centre, Valerio Oligiati, 2019. Photo by Archive Olgiati.

Something & Son

The Manuals

Something & Son explores social and environmental issues via everyday scenarios criss-crossing the boundaries between the visual arts, architecture and activism. They create permanent installations, functional sculptures and spaces for public performance that build communities, create new ecologies and force a reappraisal and understanding of some of the biggest social and environmental issues of our time. The Manuals is their latest long-term project that explores a new culture where humans create rather destroy ecosystems through our everyday actions and infrastructure. Image: Something & Son, The Manuals, 2019.

Eva Franch i Gilabert

Architecture in Translation

Eva Franch i Gilabert is the first female director of Architectural Association (AA) in London. She will be presenting Architecture in Translation, a project that launched this year with the goal of building a multilingual and multicultural approach to architecture today. As a school with more than 81 nationalities, where more than 40 languages are spoken, the project seeks to recognise the value of language in the production of space and ideas. Image: Eva Franch i Gilabert, Architecture in Translation, 2019. Art Direction, Pentagram.

Elizabeth Diller + Catherine Ince

V&A East

Elizabeth Diller is a co-founding partner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R). Alongside co-founder Ricardo Scofidio, Liz’s cross-genre work has been distinguished with TIME’s "100 Most Influential People" list and the first MacArthur Foundation fellowship awarded in the field of architecture. Catherine Ince is Chief Curator of V&A East, a new two-site museum and collection research centre due to open in London’s Olympic Park in 2023. The pair will discuss their respective work at the forefront of new critical institutional practice. Image: V&A East. Photo by Diller Scofidio + Renfo, 2018.

Shohei Shigematsu

Extending the Museum

Shohei Shigematsu is a Partner at OMA based in its New York office, an has lead the firm’s diverse portfolio in the Americas for the past decade. Shohei will discuss his engagements within the art world to focus on the changing demands and needs of cultural institutions of different typologies including two forthcoming museum expansion projects, the Albright Knox Art Gallery and the New Museum. Image: Shohei Shigematsu, OMA, New Museum alongside its expansion. Photo courtesy OMA.

Michael Wang

Extinct in New York

For Extinct in New York, an exhibition on Governors Island with the Swiss Institute, artist Michael Wang researched native plant, lichen, and algae species native to NY but which no longer grow naturally in any of the five boroughs. He installed four bespoke greenhouses containing a selection of these organisms and trained a team of caretakers to maintain them. The plants were then reintroduced into parks and gardens in New York City. Image: Michael Wang, Platanthera Ciliaris, 2019.

Julia Watson

Lo—TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism

Designer, academic and author Julia Watson is a leading expert on indigenous technologies, as seen in her monograph Lo—TEK Design by Radical Indigenism, a global exploration of indigenous architectural innovations. Lo—TEK, derived from Traditional Ecological Knowledge, is a cumulative body of multigenerational knowledge, practices, and beliefs, countering the idea that indigenous innovation is primitive and exists isolated from technology. Watson will share this compelling new research arguing that it is sophisticated and designed to sustainably work with complex ecosystems.

Liam Young

Choreographic Camouflage

Liam Young is an Australian born film director and architect who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. The music video Choreographic Camouflage takes place in a near future city that sees everything through sensors and scanners. An underground community has developed strategies to disappear to the eyes of technology. In collaboration with choreographer Jacob Jonas, a new vocabulary of movement has been designed to disguise their bodies from detection algorithms used by the city’s control networks. The animated film prototypes a sub-cultural movement that may soon emerge in response to imminent smart city technologies. Image: Still from Where the City Can’t See: Choreographic Camouflage.

Alexandra Hodkowski

Head Hi

Featuring a selection of vanguard and diverse publications from around the globe including books, magazines and self-published materials specially selected for The World Around visitors, the Head Hi Book Kiosk will be a hub for inspiration and reference. With many of the titles featuring the day's participants, Head Hi welcomes all attendees to learn more about the conference’s key themes. Visitors can purchase the publications or enjoy browsing the selection. Head Hi is a book and coffee shop run by one of The World Around's founding members Alexandra Hodkowski, located in Fort Greene, Brooklyn by the Navy Yard.



The World Around’s mission is to share the work and ideas of visionary architects and designers who are leading their field and transforming our future. We invite visionary corporations and individuals to collaborate with us. To find out more about becoming a partner of The World Around in 2020 and beyond, please contact:

The Speaker Fund
Gifts to The Speaker Fund make a meaningful difference to The World Around’s ability to share the work of our global participants. To find out more about donations and how you can help, please contact:


Executive Chairman, Diego Marroquin
Executive Director, Beatrice Galilee

1 / 2


The World Around was founded in New York in 2019. The platform seeks to connect and create a diverse and global network of the most exciting and creative designers and thinkers with wider industry professionals through high impact educational initiatives, including our annual conference as well as online events, interactive workshops, exhibitions and newsletters. 

Executive Chairman
Diego Marroquin

Executive Director
Beatrice Galilee

Advisory Board
Peter Dillon, Marilyn Hernandez, Ben Rawlingson-Plant, Susan Sellers