The urban between history, ecology and the digital – Challenges for the future of Barcelona


15 November, 2022. 18 h to 20 h

Saló de Cròniques, Ajuntament. Pl. de Sant Jaume, 1. 08002 Barcelona

ATENCIÓ: L’assistència a l’acte és gratuïta, però és necessari demanar d’assistir a Carmen Chica, AE-BKH, al següent correu: cchica@microbios.org

Logo Disputatio
Trini Sotos

                     Drawing by Trini Sotos, 2017



Since its constitution, in 2013, the Academia Europaea-Barcelona Knowledge Hub (AE-BKH) organizes the Disputatio of Barcelona, an annual public debate between two experts (a woman and a man), of high international prestige. The two Disputantes, present two different aspects of a topic of social relevance and with strong implications for contemporaneous society and citizenship. The session is coordinated by another expert, the Magister disputationis, responsible for the selection of the topic and the coordination of the discussion. The activity is characterized by a high level of participation by the attendants, that is, intellectuals and academics of different fields and not necessarily related with the topic discussed. These modern Disputationes are inspired by the famous Disputatio of Barcelona, a theological debate be-tween top intellectual represen-tatives of the Christian and Jewish faiths, celebrated under the presi-dency of king Jaume I of Aragon in the summer of 1263.

Urban Sustainability. Growing urban populations and the increased environmental, social and economic impact of urban lifestyles have boosted major cities to the forefront of global sustainability actions. Transdisciplinary sustainability research and the involvement of sci­entists in the development of urban policies and regulations are growing in importance across city councils. The AE-BKH, located in one of the most urbanism-conscious cities of the Mediterranean offers an excellent network for co-operation in urban sustainability studies, with many similarities and complementarities. Using cross-sectoral and multidisci­plinary approaches, the aim of this debate is to identify historical drivers, ecological rela­tionships and special opportunities and challenges of urban sustainability in the Medi­ter­ranean region, as well as to define the possible synergies and unavoidable trade-offs while entering the era of smart cities, digital transportation systems and clean energy.



Magister. Xavier Costa-Guix, professor of Architecture, College of Arts, Media and Design, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA

Disputantes. Kathrin Golda-Pongratz, professor of Architecture and Urbanism, Technical University of Catalonia, Barcelona

and Georg Vrachliotis, professor of Theory of Architecture and Digital Culture, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TU Delft, Netherlands



Xavier Costa-Guix

Xavier Costa-Guix. Member of Academia Europaea. Professor of Architecture at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, where he has recently served as founding Dean of the College of Arts, Media and Design. He has served as Dean of Pompeu Fabra University’s School of Design, and as Director of the Metropolis Graduate Program at the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC). Costa-Guix has also held academic and research positions at Harvard University, Cornell University, Columbia University, and the Archi- tectural Association. He served as curator for La Biennale in Venice, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona. He holds a PhD and MS degrees in architecture and conservation from the University of Pennsylvania, the Technical University of Catalonia, and a BA in History of Art from the University de Barcelona. Costa-Guix’s research and publications have focused on an interdisciplinary focus on Modern architecture, urbanism and design, as well as on critical conservation and curatorship, particularly in the European context.

Kathrin Golda-Pongraz

Kathrin Golda-Pongratz. Member of Academia Europaea. She is an architect, urbanist and urban researcher with a PhD from Karlsruhe University (Germany). She is a professor at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya and at the Department of Urbanism at the Tech­nical University of Catalonia-BarcelonaTech and a visiting professor and member of the academic evaluation board at the National Uni­versity of Engineering and the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru in Lima (Peru). She publishes and lectures internationally. Her re­search focuses on urban memory, urban culture(s) and public space, Hispano-American urbanism, postcolonial urbanization, non-formal urbanism and place-making strategies. Her latest book (with J.L. Oyón and V. Zimmermann) John F C Turner. Autoconstrucción. Por una autonomía del habitar (Logroño, 2018) was distinguished with the “FAD Award on Thought and Criticism” in Barcelona in 2019. Her documentary film Ciudad Infinita–Voces de El Ermitaño, portraying a self-built neighbourhood in Lima, was launched in October 2018. Golda-Pongratz’s experience ex­pands into curating and cultural transmission. She has recently served as a consultant on urban memory policies for the cities of Barcelona and Sant Cugat. She is a spokeswoman of the “Ateneu de Memòria Popular” in Barcelona, a member of the “Institut dels Passats Pre­sents” at Barcelona’s city council (IPP), of the German Association of Latin American Re­search (ADLAF), and the German Academy of Ur­ban and Regional Planning (DASL).

Georg Vachliotis 02

Georg Vrachliotis. Member of Academia Europaea. Full Professor and Head of Chair for Theory of Architecture and Digital Culture, Department of Architecture, TU Delft. From 2016 he was dean of the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) Faculty of Architecture and Chair for Architecture Theory (2014-2020). Previously he conducted research at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture at ETH Zürich. He studied architecture at the Berlin University of the Arts and did his PhD at the ETH Zürich. Besides that he was a visiting researcher and lecturer at the UC Berkeley Department of Architec- ture in California and the TU Wien in Vienna. Vrachliotis is member of the advisory board of the magazine ARCH+, external examiner at Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL London, and academic advisory board member of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre at The Het Nieuwe Instituut, Museum for Architecture, Design and Digital Culture in Rotterdam. Vrachliotis is the author and co-editor of several books on the history and theory of digital culture in architecture, such as “Complexity. Design Strategy and World View” (2008), “Simulation. Presentation Technique and Cognitive Tool” (2008), “Patterns. Ornament, Structure and Behaviour” (2009), “Code. Between Operation and Narration.” (2010), and “Datatopia” (ARCH+ special issue, 2019). He recently published “The New Technological Condition. Architecture and Design in the Age of Cybernetics” (2022). Vrachliotis curated the exhibition “Fritz Haller. Architect and Researcher” at the SAM Swiss Architecture Museum in 2014 in collaboration with the Institute for History and Theory (gta) at ETH Zurich (catalogue published by gta Publisher in 2014, with Laurent Stalder), the exhibition “Sleeping Beauty. Reinventing Frei Ottos Multihalle” (catalogue published by Spector Books in 2018) on the occasion of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in 2018. He recently curated the exhibition “Models, Media and Methods. Frei Otto’s Architectural Research” at the School of Architecture at Yale University (2020).