Call for Papers

abstract submission deadline | 7 July 2020
The International Scientific Committee, for its issue n. 8|2020, which will be published in December, promotes the topic Possible and Preferable Scenarios of a Sustainable Future – Towards 2030 and Beyond.

Investigating the future is an established practice for the academy and the world of crafts and industry. From the Chicago Columbian Exhibition of 1893 to the two Worlds Fairs of New York City (1939 and 1965) and so on, the future has been foreseen as filled with technology and amazing architecture. However, not every vision of the future has described promising scenarios: the dystopian novel by George Orwell entitled Nineteen Eighty-Four, published in 1949, looked 35 years ahead, painting an anything but reassuring picture of the future. We have entered the third decade of the new millennium, and we must certainly reflect on the objectives we had set for 2020 and on the results we have achieved.

However, project into the future (pro-jàcere, from Latin, jump forward), explore and imagine how your life will change, boosted by human ingenuity and with the support of science, is in the human nature. The four visions of the future proposed by Norman Henchey (1978) conceptualized in classes – ‘possible’ (any future), ‘plausible’ (future that makes sense), ‘probable’ (highly likely to happen), ‘preferable’ (the best that could happen) – have been brilliantly described in the ‘Futures Cone’ reinterpreted by Joseph Voros (2003). As we move away from the present, the ‘possible’ tends to ‘preferable’ due to the lack of elements and data on which to base the programming and the planning: in fact, the certainty on the type of technologies and production methods that will be available, on the social structure and user uses, and so on decreases.

By 2030, the world will already be different: Thomas L. Friedman (2016) highlights that the three main forces of our Planet – Moore’s Law (technology), the Market (globalization) and Mother Nature (climate change and biodiversity loss) – are all pressing at the same time, with inevitable consequences for the territory, cities, architecture, products and services that will be designed, developed and used in the future. The 17 2030 Sustainable Development Goals presented by the United Nations provide an answer for this time horizon (, tracing the path towards a model to achieve a better and more sustainable future for everyone.

But will these Goals be able to accelerate sustainable innovation? However, it is clear that how the future of our planet, its landscapes, cities, architecture and consumer products will mostly depend on the decisions we make today, on our level of ‘vision’ and on how we will deal with the subject of sustainability with respect to the aforementioned Goals. Going beyond 2030, imagining 2050, we will certainly have to deal with a population growth that will reach ten billion people, of which 75% will be living in cities and urban areas (United Nations, 2019); therefore, the cities of the future will become crucial metropolises for the sustainability of the whole Planet. In the meantime, the academic, crafts and industry worlds are raising a series of questions (listed in the pdf of the Call).

Based on the above-mentioned questions, AGATHÓN, turning to disciplinary areas of the Project and in particular of Landscape, Urbanism, Architecture, Engineering, Architectural Technology, Design, Restoration and Recovery, Representation, presents the subject Possible and Preferable Scenarios of a Sustainable Future – Towards 2030 and Beyond with the aim of collecting essays and critical reflections, researches and experiments, projects and actions able to give a vision of the sustainable future of Living by looking at the two-time horizons of 2030 and 2050, providing answers to the main macro-questions:
• Ecology and Environmental Quality;
• Effectiveness and Circularity in Resource Use;
• Mitigation of and Adaptation to Climate Change;
• Energy Efficiency and Renewable Sources;
• Globalization and Glocalization;
• Digitalization, Enabling Technologies and Opportunities linked to Industry 4.0;
• New Ways of Living, Working, Studying, Producing, Consuming and Socializing;
• Challenges caused by Pandemic Threats.

FROM MEGA TO NANO: The Complexity of a Multiscalar Project
abstract submission deadline | 5 February 2020
The International Scientific Committee, for its issue n. 7|2020, which will be published in June, promotes the topic From Mega to Nano: The Complexity of a Multiscalar Project.

The ability of ‘change of scales’, work on more different scales – multiscalarity – create new ones or change the meaning of the scales commonly accepted, it is common practice in the approach to the project and has always concerned architects, engineers, designers and artists for the multiple symbolic and real meanings of the size of a territory, a city, an architecture and an object. However, it can provide a range of opportunities even in different contexts such as economy, politics, culture, etc. The concepts of scale and size are fundamental to link, in a systemic point of view, the detail with the big picture, the detail with the group, to interpret and represent, to discretize and recompose elements and parts that stand in a hierarchy or interconnection relation, to investigate the physical and social, to outline critical issues and potential, but especially to establish the importance of relational aspects between the group and its component as a way to understand their identity, their nature and organization, their regulation rules and the role played in different contexts, namely the fundamental elements to identify the form and structure of a territory, a city, an architecture and an object.

The concept of scale in Architecture regulates the size of the anthropic space, always keeping human dimension as reference. The choice of the scale inevitably becomes a conceptual selection of what the project actually wants to represent. When using multiscalar representation, we try to show the complexity of reality, by using as many regulation criteria and specific evaluations as we can, not only by describing its size and geometric aspects but most of all by significantly highlighting its qualitative aspects and those related to identity, culture and history. This means that there is not just one scale to represent a territory, a city, architecture, an object or a detail; however, in terms of a necessary multiscalarity, the project chooses the most fitting scale to develop practices, on a case-by-case basis.

Therefore, logically the scale influences the project: thanks to the progress of technology in the field of design at all levels, it is probably the component of the project on which the designer works the most, simultaneously coordinating real and virtual relations; these relations do not end when the form is created, but continue over time and modify the management of the object’s complexity. Measuring, using the scale as a tool, means understanding the things in the world by establishing some differences, therefore ‘off-size’ can be the basis for new theoretical assumptions in which both the infinitely large (mega) and the infinitely small (nano) contribute to defining crucial topics, such as environmental, social and economic sustainability, resilience, territory government, the idea of space, aesthetics, use, development of new products, services and materials, etc. Therefore, the multiscalar approach can be considered as an important design working tool that, in a systemic point of view, can foster the proposal of adequate strategies for action and planning of sustainable actions, developing new methods, working techniques and shared measurements, through well-considered hierarchies of priorities necessary to optimize the choices of the project and to determine reliable cost/benefit balances (especially of environmental nature).

In the light of these considerations, AGATHÓN, turning to disciplinary areas of the Project and in particular of Landscape, Urbanism, Architecture, Engineering, Design, Restoration and Recovery, Representation, and Technology and Technical Architecture, presents the subject From Mega to Nano: the Complexity of a Multiscalar Project with the aim of collecting essays and critical reflections, researches and experiments, projects and actions addressing the multiscalarity, including but not limited to:
• environmental and energy sustainability;
• territorial economies and society;
• migrations and cosmopolite communities;
• strategic processes for territorial and urban development;
• material and immaterial aspects of the project;
• detail and project;
• materials and built environment;
• knowledge and representation of the built environment;
• verification and simulation of the project;
• digital models and big data.


RESILIENCE between Mitigation and Adaptation
abstract submission deadline | 3 September 2019
AGATHÓN aims to deal with the theme of Resilience between Mitigation and Adaptation with the aim of collecting essays and critical reflections, researches and experiments, projects and interventions referred, on interscale terms, to the different dimensions of the man-made and natural environment, to which risk, fragility and vulnerability can no longer be dealt with individually by the traditional tools of sustainability, innovation, redevelopment or regeneration, but only through a systemic approach capable of supporting, integrating and fostering relationships between individual, group and community, cultural and multi/transdisciplinary competences (urban planning, architecture, representation, history, restoration recovery, technology, design and communication, economy, sociology, psychology, etc.) thus integrating humanistic and technical knowledge. More specifically, the main areas of interest concern:
• Landscape and Territory Scale: as cross-disciplinary synthesis of systemic and integrated knowledge of the environment, in its natural aspects (natural and naturalized signs, natural network systems, etc.) and related to anthropic uses and transformations (networks and infrastructures, etc.); a resilient landscape policy must take into account, above all, the non-material interests and desires of the population, beauty, biological and landscape diversity, habitats, identification with the territory, etc.;
• Urban Scale: the quality of cities requires complex strategies, both for intervention scales (structural and process interventions) and for fields of action (economic, environmental, social), to be continuously implemented over time and with respect of the characteristics of the contexts; the resilient city changes by designing innovative social, economic and environmental responses that allow cities to withstand the demands of the environment and history in the long run;
• Architecture and Building Scale: to ensure a resilient approach, Architecture must absorb, on the one hand, the principle of adaptation (to contexts, climate, and risks), on the other the principle of degrowth and of limit, intended as saving/optimization of natural resources and minimum pollution in all stages of their life cycle; case studies and experimental creations represent their privileged interpretation;
• Material Scale: the levels of innovation in building creation and the technological abilities to manage the transformation processes have changed the base scenario, entrusting the handling of the building process to the integration of the building construction project with the components and materials. By thematically contextualizing the definition of material compatibility, the interpretive keys include – but are not limited to – innovation, efficiency, quality, technique and vulnerability.


PRO-INNOVATION Process Production Product
abstract submission deadline | 19 February 2019
AGATHÓN deals with the subject of Pro-Innovation | Process Production Product with the aim of collecting essays and critical reflections, researches and experiments, projects and creations (of new architectures, recovery and restoration interventions, art and product/visual design) that might be case studies for innovation, sustainability and social inclusion, describing the subject, which may include but is not limited to:
Process Innovation: sequence and organization models, management and control of the process stages; operating methodologies (ideational, design, productive, operational, management and of disposal of the work/product) of the whole life cycle of the artifact; regulations; new professional experts and technical skills; ways to involve professionals and users in the several decision-making stages, etc.;
Production Innovation: tools suitable for the optimization of the different stages of the production process including machines and robots for digital manufacturing (CNC milling, laser cutting, 3D printing, etc.), for prototyping and for prefabrication, relating to analysis and design/simulation software (also with virtual reality) CAD and CAM, BIM, digital, parametric, algorithmic and generative, environmental, structural, energetic and thermal; installation and assembly techniques and technologies, etc.;
Product innovation: smart, advanced, composite, recyclable, sustainable, nanostructured, shape-memory, phase-change, self-repairing, responsive, adaptive, low-cost and high-performance materials/components/objects with a low environmental impact; automation, detection, management and control equipment for performance optimization; ‘passive’ technologies for efficient casings, including natural ventilation and cooling systems, water collection, storage and recycling, and off-grid renewable energy production.


IMPERMANENCE between Necessity and Pleasure
abstract submission deadline | 5 Sepember 2018
AGATHÒN deals with the theme of Impermanence between Necessity and Pleasure with the aim of collecting essays and critical reflections, researches and experiments (of processes, products and materials), projects and creations (of architecture, art and design) that might be case studies for innovation, sustainability and social inclusion, describing the two terms, Necessity and Pleasure, in the following uses: emergency, residence and hospitality, health care, events (cultural, recreational, artistic, commemorative, etc.), trade, work, street food, sport, leisure, training, research, production, etc.


Comparison of the Academic Programs, Teaching and Projects of Architecture Schools
abstract submission deadline | 26 February 2018
AGATHÒN deals with the theme of Comparison of the Academic Programs, Teaching and Projects of Architecture Schools. The main objective is the comparison among different Schools of Architecture, Engineering and Design. Secondary objectives are the answers to some questions. What will the new architecture be like in this third millennium? Except for the star-chitect’s (often questionable) work, design and architecture seem to be a forgotten art, as long as the urban landscape is degraded and marked by tired and worn rationalism. What can be done? Do architecture schools have adequate strategies for the new era and for diverse contexts? AGATHÓN believes that your participation can address the following issues:
Academic Programs (mandatory and elective academic subjects, theoretical and practical approaches, credits earned, etc.);
Teaching (lectures, laboratories, team or individual work, work carried out in the classroom, etc.);
Design in various architectural areas (architecture, landscape, interior design, urban design, recovery and restoration of existing buildings, construction drawings, industrial design, etc.);
Education Buildings (projects and creations of Schools of Architecture, Engineering and Design, Institutes, Departments, Academies, Colleges, Campus, etc.).


Architecture and Nature
abstract submission deadline | 5 August 2018
AGATHÒN deals with the theme of Architecture and Nature declined on the visual and material aspects; in particular on:
the natural landscape and urban landscape, aimed at protecting and modifying the natural environment or the structuring of the urban environment to make it more and more functional and responsive to the growing social concentration in the city;
architectural materials such as stone, wood, terracotta, adobe, green, water.
Such visual and material aspects are required:
• studies on historical heritage, aimed at knowledge, conservation and value-making;
• innovative research on processes, products and materials;
• examples of ancient, modern and contemporary architecture. 


CONTINUITY: Projects for the Historical City
abstract submission deadline | 15 March 2017

AGATHÒN deals with the theme of Continuity: Projects for the Historical City. The dramatic decline and development in many Italian (and not only) cities are all too clear and sparks a warning not to repeat the speculation, abandonment, the mistakes that have pervaded this Peninsula of ours, with no respect for cultural, artistic, and environmental values. Less evident is the fact that in the last few years the populations in our historic cities have changed. Former residents have moved to new areas, abandoning historic buildings and quarters to new arrivals from Asia and Africa.
The urban vista has been degraded, tired rationalism marks many quarters of our cities, and the University holds onto a complex and useless didactic machine. What should be done to consolidate the culture of the project and to found a new architectural practice appropriate to our times? There are many questions. Which mindful efforts do we see from producers of forms, architects, artists, designers, artisans, and industrialists in the name of continuity with tradition? What is the ethical content of our téchne with regard to the requirements of quality? Since we revere the past and future of our cities, what are the current actions, ideas, projects and works, the status quo of which, we have to improve, in order to bestow value on them, to make them liveable and adequate for today?
Which architecture and which art for our historic cities? Because of the migratory flux, socio-political changes impose on us a welcoming stance, integration, and participation. What can be done? Who are the inhabitants of the historic cities? Should we not create, in historic cities, levels of locality (in buildings and quarters) in which multi-ethnic neighbours are integrated among themselves, with the inhabitants of the place and with the built environment? And can the artistic expression, which is evident with increasing frequency in urban spaces, lead to change and bring about urban regeneration? Are historic centres capable of experimenting with new synergies among diverse protagonists (citizens, artists, associations, etc.)? Can street art or site-specific installations favour the processes of integration between the community and the built environment? Can they drum up participation and integration between residents and emigré communities? Finally, are our historic cities liveable?
All these, as well as other possible questions, need answers appropriate to diverse contexts.
Our aim is the assembling of different experiences and research carried out on this theme. The published contributions will act as a testimony to the historic reality in which we live: ideas, projects, chosen works or also incomplete, or possibly imperfect, but culturally vibrant, works. It will be our responsibility to reflect on these contributions in order to move toward the critical clarification of a real, problematic situation that embraces unknown and urgent factors, and which is in a continuous state of development.