Conference

Material Health: Design Frontiers

November 14 – 15, 2019 The New School, New York NY

Conference Documentation

Stay Tuned! Video coming soon.

Location

The New School
66 W 12th Street, Auditorium
New York, NY 10011

Symposium Summary

Who designs the future? Who shapes it? Who teaches it? How does an understanding of the fundamental issues threatening our planet and human species change the way we teach and launch the next generation of architects and interior designers for this new era? What are the problems we will face if we don’t consider the complex environmental implications of design decisions? What does the future look like if radical change happens now?

In this era of Climate Crisis, and from the vantage point of material health, there is an urgent need to imagine new paths for architecture and design in order to create a new healthier future for everyone. This symposium provides a platform to examine issues of material health and celebrate material innovation, grapple with new and long-sustained challenges in socially engaged research and practice, as well as critically reflect on necessary changes to academic architectural and interior design programs. Together, exceptional perspectives will identify viable alternatives and illuminate new paths for the next generation of architecture and design.

Share your photos of the Symposium with the hashtag #designhealthierfutures

Full Symposium Description

As architects and designers, we often design without considering the complex environmental implications of our important decisions. An unwillingness to understand the consequences of all of our actions is having a profound impact on the planet’s ecosystem and on human health. Design decisions affect the construction and manufacturing industries and have an adverse impact on the planet and on our health. We must do things differently. We need to identify viable alternatives to our current carbon-intensive construction products and practices.

We are the first generation to spend approximately 90% of our time indoors. Building materials, furniture, and products in places where people live, work and play dictate what we breathe, absorb, and ingest. Evidence shows that indoor air may be three to five times more contaminated than outdoor air and exposure is even more likely for those living in substandard housing. Risks increase for pregnant mothers, children, and seniors whose bodies are particularly vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals.

These issues are not confined to living indoors. Low-quality building materials also have adverse health impacts on people and the environment during their processing, manufacturing, and all stages of a product’s life cycle.

Who designs the future? Who shapes it? Who teaches it? How does an understanding of these fundamental issues change the way we teach and launch the next generation of architects and interior designers for this new era? What does the future look like if we make radical changes now? What are the problems we will have to confront if we don’t make a change?

Join us in New York to launch these conversations and consider how academic and design practice must change to address these challenges.

Please visit our Speakers page for information about confirmed participants. We will continue to update that page.

Co-Chairs

  • Alison Mears, Parsons Healthy Materials Lab
  • Jonsara Ruth, Parsons Healthy Materials Lab

Location & Lodgings

The conference will be hosted at The New School located in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Some hotels that guests typically stay at when visiting campus include Walker Hotel Greenwich Village, The Marcel at Gramercy, and the Washington Square Hotel.

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