International Seminar «Materials for the XXI Century» MCAS

International Seminar «Flows and Linkages: Materials and Products for the 21st Century» MCAS

The proposed seminar is focused on exposing and discussing the latest international advances in technologies and tools aimed at contributing to the reduction of the carbon footprint currently produced by the building construction sector, trying to advance as far as possible towards the double ecological and digital transition of the building activity.

Based on the objectives set out in the international Paris Agreement – i.e. to ensure that the average increase in global temperature does not exceed 1.5ºC with respect to pre-industrial values – and in the European Green Deal – i.e. to achieve the objective of a decarbonised Europe by 2050 – the seminar will explore the problem of decarbonisation of the construction sector from a triple perspective:

1) from the point of view of technological innovation of materials and products
2) from the point of view of low embodied carbon building design
3) from the point of view of the use of digital tools for impact minimisation

Three reference institutions will be involved in each of these areas: a) Civil Engineering Research and Innovation for Sustainability CERIS. University of Lisbon; b) Sustainable Construction ETH Zurich; and c) Institute of Technology of the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen. The seminar aims to exchange knowledge and create the basis for research collaboration between the University of Seville and these prestigious institutions.

Speakers + Organization Committee 

Angela Barrios Padura

PhD in Architecture in 2001, Hindex 14 (SCOPUS), is a postdoctoral researcher and supervisor of PhD students. She is currently Full Professor at the University of Seville. She has participated as a researcher and manager in 7 R&D projects and in 11 contracts with companies. She has published 32 articles in indexed journals, 22 in the first quartile. Since 2012 is the director of two collaboration grants, 2 research initiation grants, a postdoctoral contract from the University of Seville, a Margarita Salas grant, and two FPU contracts. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Sustainable City and Architecture, Architecture and Historical Heritage, and Eco-Efficient Rehabilitation of Buildings and Neighbourhoods at the Higher Technical School of Architecture of the University of Seville.

José Luis Bezos

José Luis Bezos was born in Seville in 1969. He graduated as an Architect at the University of Seville in 1996 and obtained the title of Doctor of Architecture (2017) with the thesis entitled “Open devices: open source habitats. Strategies generating open logics and the introduction of the sphere of the user in architecture since the 1950s» He currently performs teaching work as a Professor at the School of Architecture of Seville. He has participated in the Spanish Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2002 and his work has been exhibited, among others, at the international exhibition JAE (Young Architects of Spain). He has obtained numerous awards in competitions, such as the Europan competitions, the European Prize for Urban Public Space, the J5 competitions for Young Architects in Andalusia and, in general, awards in public competitions for project ideas obtained from the different administrations.

José Dinis Silvestre

Associate Professor with Habilitation at the Department of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Georesources of Instituto Superior Técnico from Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal, and researcher at the ‘Civil Engineering Research and Innovation for Sustainability’ (CERIS). PhD in Civil Engineering from the same institution, being since 2009 and expert on assessing the sustainability of materials, construction systems and buildings. Carried out Life Cycle Assessment studies with more than 25 national manufacturers of construction materials and in national and international projects. Co-authored more than 90 ISI journal papers and 3 books, coordinates 2 research projects with foreign partners, and participates in 1 international research project (having participated in other 2 as subcontracted consultant and in 1 Erasmus+ project) and in 13 national research projects (and in 5 more already concluded), related to sustainability and energy efficiency of building materials and construction solutions. Supervised 2 PhD Theses and co-supervised 4 others and supervised 10 Integrated Master Theses and co-supervised 4. Was President of the national Standardisation Commission CT 171 «Sustainability in Buildings» between 2017 and 2019 and is a member of the Technical Commission and verifier of the DAPHabitat System – Registration System of Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for Habitat.

Guillaume Habert

Guillaume Habert is associate professor for sustainable construction at ETH Zurich. He leads a group of scientists, engineers and architects that aim to ground sustainability in the disciplines of the built environment. This involves interdisciplinary works and draws on Life Cycle Assessment, urban metabolism and material science. More specifically, recent work focuses on the use of excavation materials to develop circular and climate neutral building materials and the quantification of the regenerative potentials brought by an increased implementation of biobased materials in construction sector. He is an alumni from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and holds a PhD in structural geology. Prior to his venue in Switzerland, he has worked in France, Brazil and USA successively in the fields of geology, material sciences, civil engineering and sustainability sciences. He is associate editor of international scientific journals which cover the wide span of his research activities: “Material and Structures”, “Buildings and Cities” and “Sustainability”. ETH Zurich, Switzerland, is one of the leading international universities for technology and natural sciences. ETH Zurich has more than 18’500 students from over 110 countries, including 4’000 doctoral students. ETH Zurich regularly appears at the top of international rankings as one of the best universities in the world.

Emanuele Naboni

Dr Emanuele Naboni is a Lecturer at the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen, School of Architecture, Module director at the SOS School of Sustainability in Milan, and Associate Professor at the University of Parma. He practices, teaches, researches and publishes in the field of Regenerative Environmental Design, and City and buildings Design for Climate Change, with a focus on linking Ecosystems and Humans via Digital Design. Emanuele worked with ETH Future Cities Lab in Singapore (2019), EPFL Lausanne (2016-17), Southeast University in Nanjing (2018), Architectural Association in London (2014), University of California Berkeley (2013).

He was invited lecturer at TU Delft, TU Munich, UC Berkeley, Aalto University, National University of Singapore, The University of Nottingham, Arup World Research and is an external reviewer at the Bartlet and IAAC. Emanuele was sustainable design leader at the “Performance Design Studio” of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP (SOM) in San Francisco for a number of years (2006-2010), a Researcher for the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and Post-doc at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley (LBNL) (2005-2012). He collaborates on project bases with BIG, Arup, Kengo Kuma, William MC Donough, Mario Cucinella Architects, Autodesk and NASA. He won international design competitions and prizes for sustainable design teaching and published more than 80 scientific publications and monographs with Routledge, Taylor and Francis, Riba and Details.

Reyes Rodríguez García

PhD in Chemistry in 1999, is Full Professor at the University of Sevilla at the Higher Technical School of Architecture. She teaches both Bachelor’s and Master’s courses around the knowledge of materials and products. They specialize in the characterization of materials of and for construction, looking for ways to know both their properties and test adjustment protocols to optimize knowledge of them in the built work and in rehabilitation. In this sense, she has directed three doctoral theses and more than 20 TFM and TFG.

She is a founding member of the TERRAND association and her scientific contribution in the last 5 years is summarized in 18 publications (publications in journals, book chapters and contributions to conferences), participation in 3 R&D projects and 3 contracts.

Carlos Tapia Martín (Speaker and Organizer)

PhD. architect and Professor (tenured full-time civil servant) at the Department of History, Theory and Architectural Composition in the Higher Technical School of Architecture in Seville, Spain. He belongs to the Network of Sociospatial Studies RESE (University of Antioquia, Colombia) and of the Institute of Architecture and Building Science (IUACC) at the University of Seville. In addition, he is a researcher at the group OUT_Arquias, investigation in the limits of architecture. He investigates the ‘symptoms of contemporaneity’, and at this moment, he develops two related projects: ‘Critique and Epistemology of the dream of the future city’ and ‘Space and Negativity’. Currently, the journal Astragalo, Culture of architecture and the City, ascribed to the University of Seville and the CAEAU-Buenos Aires, is under his co-coordination.


The Seminar is open, and no fees are required. Please consider your registration only if you are going to participate: limited seats.

All sessions are face-to-face, not by streaming.

If you want to attend the Seminar, please fill out the following form:

The Venue

Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura

Reina Mercedes, 2. 41012 SEVILLA.



International Seminar «Flows and Linkages: Materials and Products for the 21st Century» MCAS       download pdf
  Classroom A1001   C. «Félix Pozo», ground floor   C. «Félix Pozo», ground floor   Classroom A1001
  Preliminary Seminar Seminar   Extended Session
  In Spanish   In English   In English   In Spanish
  Thursday, 19 May 2022    Wednesday, 25th May 2022   Thursday, 26th May 2022   Wednesday, 1st June 2022

9.00  – 9.30 

Presentation of the Seminar 9.00  – 11.00  Circular Climate Workshop I. Building a 1:1 Carbon Positive and Nature-Based Design Climate Change in Sevilla. Design with Upcycling. Leverage Nature-Based Solutions  9.00  – 11.00  Ecolabels and environmental declarations
      Dr. Javier López Rivera  ETSAS’ Vice dean, Dr. Carlos Tapia Martín. Deputy director MCAS   Dr. Emanuele Naboni   Dr. Ángela Barrios Padura, Dr. Reyes Rodríguez Garcia
    9.30  – 11.30  Climate neutral and circular built environment – right here, right now –  11.30  – 13.30  Sustainable Building Materials 11.30  – 13.30  Present and future of construction materials
      Dr. Guillaume Habert   Dr. José Silvestre   Dr. Reyes Rodríguez García
    12.00  – 14.00  Design for Climate Change 13.30  – 14.00  Panel Discussion 13.30  – 14.00  Conclusions
      Dr. Emanuele Naboni   Dr Reyes Rodríguez García. Dr. José Silvestre Moderator: Carlos Tapia Martín   Dr. Reyes Rodríguez García
16.00 – 16.30  Presentation of the Preliminary Seminar 16.00 – 17.30  Products and Systems for the 21st century 16.00  – 17.30  Life Cycle Assessment of Construction Materials    
  Dr. Reyes Rodríguez García, Dr. Carlos Tapia Martín   Dr. Reyes Rodríguez García and Dr. Angela Barrios Padura   Dr. José Silvestre    
16.30 – 18.30 

On the Oriented Object and the new materialisms

18.00 h – 20.00 h Innovative Materials 18.00  – 20.30  Circular Climate Workshop II. Building a 1:1 Carbon Positive and Nature-Based Sketching the Prototype.     
  Dr.Carlos Tapia   Dr. Guillaume Habert   Dr. Emanuele Naboni    
19.00 – 21.00 Materiality: The Construction of a Perception. 20.00  – 21.00  Panel Discussion 20.30  – 21.00  Panel discussion and conclusions    
  Dr. José Luis Bezos Alonso   Dr Guillaume Habert. Dr. Emanuele Naboni; Dr. Angela Barrios Padura. Moderator: Dr Reyes García Rodriguez   Dr. José Silvestre, Dr. Emanuele Naboni. Moderator: Reyes Rodriguez García.    

Programme description:

Thursday, 19 May 2022

16.00 h – 16.30 h
Presentation of the Preliminary Seminar
Dr. Reyes Rodríguez García, Dr. Carlos Tapia Martín

16.30 h – 18.30 h
On the Oriented Object and the new materialisms.

Dr. Carlos Tapia 
Contemporary philosophy can be divided (very roughly) between a diverse set of thinkers whose focus is on problems of the subject (such as those questions linked to ideology, language and social praxis) such as Ranciere or Zizek, and a group – much less numerous and less published – whose interest lies in defining a philosophical realism that can transcend any philosophy centred on consciousness, experience, action or existence; a philosophy for an after-finitude (the title of a book by Quentin Meillassoux) that is objectualist, which would be a moniker applicable to thinkers such as Latour and De Landa, within a modern tradition that includes a certain part of Heidegger’s production and that of North Whitehead. In this context, one of its founders – Graham Harman – proposed the expression OOO (Oriented Objects Ontology), within his field of installation, which he calls speculative realism and which aims to analyse the relationship between real objects and intentional objects (which we could qualify as projected) and/or sensible objects (which we could define as any objectology with an aesthetic-communicative will). Although these thinkers accept that the intentional object is subsidiary to the real object with which it tries to establish relations, it would seem that deepening such a real-intentional relation comprises a substantive part of the OOO programme.

19.00 – 21.00
Materiality: The Construction of a Perception.

Dr. José Luis Bezos Alonso

The term materiality associated with the architectural project implies understanding and highlighting the organoleptic, haptic and sensory capacities that the use of material has in the construction of space and in its perception. This conception goes beyond the material when it is understood as an element whose only technical properties or functional requirements are taken into account. From this approach, and with an intentionally holistic, inclusive and generic vision, the exhibition develops this look around materiality from eleven different angles or approaches that highlight the importance of the features of materials and their contribution to the construction of an atmosphere and an appearance that defines the personality of the space. It deals with the construction, in short, of a perception that verifies and integrates a fundamental association: the one between material and space.

Keywords: Materiality, material, space, perception, local dynamics.

Wednesday, 25th May 2022

9.00 h – 9.30 h

Presentation of the Seminar
Dr. Domingo Sánchez Fuentes Dr. Reyes Rodríguez García, Dr. Carlos Tapia Martín

9.30 h – 11.30 h
Climate neutral and circular built environment – right here, right now –

Dr. Guillaume Habert

The IPCC recommends reaching carbon neutrality in the next 20 years. The challenge seems gigantic, and to be honest, out of reach when the built environment represents 40% of greenhouse gas emissions. However, I believe, buildings and infrastructure should no longer be considered as a problem, but as a gigantic opportunity. They can store carbon emissions and counteract climate change. They also serve as storage for materials that can later be mined. And instead of reducing air quality, buildings can actually increase it thanks to natural clay plaster.

It’s possible to build, right here, right now, climate neutral and circular buildings from year one of construction. CO2 emissions from concrete can be reduced by more than 50% when all stakeholders are engaged, from the cement producers, to concrete manufacturers, structural engineers, architects, demolition companies and waste managers… and rather than oppose massive and lightweight construction we can find synergies where a biobased façade made out of timber framed strawbale is directly compensating the CO2 emissions from the optimised low carbon concrete structure.

It is through the appropriate combination of materials and technologies and the synergies between actors that we can achieve climate neutral and circular buildings within such a short period of time. To do so, no material war but rather the promotion of a good material diet. No time to wait for the silver bullet that will save us all. It doesn’t exist… or if it does, it will arrive too late.


12.00 h – 14.00 h
Design for Climate Change
Dr. Emanuele Naboni.

The built environment contributes greatly to climate change and the increase of temperature which is linked to several feedback loops. Climate change increases the risk of generating localized and large scale abrupt changes leading to degradation of the ecosystem and people’s health. Some consequences are irreversible such as those related to biogeochemical flows and extinction of species. Whereas in the same specific regions of the world there has been a constant attempt on minimizing damage, this is not enough. Given such circumstances, the communication will display a series of digital and 1:1 built design approaches to climate change. These are thermal resilient and carbon positive examples of achieving a favourable microclimate in future projections, sustaining an ecologically regenerative, and salutogenic, approach.

Keywords: climate change, thermal resiliency, ecology, carbon positive, human health, digital design, 1:1 prototype


16.00 h – 17.30 h
Products and Systems for the 21st century
Dr. Reyes Rodríguez García and Dr. Angela Barrios Padura

The conference pivots between the knowledge and the need to criticise the different materials most commonly used in construction. Two converging points of view are proposed. First, the various degrees of action (presented as levels of knowledge) are shown, from a minimum knowledge acquired through training to the highest attainable level in which, in each project, innovative solutions are investigated and provided.

Second, the groups of materials and products are shown by a classification based on the degree of manipulation and energy needs of each group, which makes it possible to study them from a more environmental dimension than those proposed with traditional study strategies. The materials with the lowest energy consumption and the lowest ecological impact, classified as natural materials, will be studied in depth.

18.00 h – 20.00 h
Innovative Materials
Dr. Guillaume Habert.
In a second presentation, the objective is to dig into more details about the solutions we will need to implement if we want to achieve a just and climate neutral built environment.

This requires for sure a transformation of our current practices as it is obvious that what we are doing now has deleterious impact on the planet as well as on societal cohesion. But in this presentation, we will show that new practices implemented massively (which is the definition of innovation) don’t necessarily mean high tech ground-breaking solutions. Indeed, vernacular technique readapted to our current context in order to make them viable economically and still environmentally friendly can provide grounded solutions.

We will explore how grounded construction techniques with earth, bamboo, grass and other local matter could look like. Fundamentally, we will show that all these elements can be summarized into fibres, grains and a binder and will then be controlled by general physical principles allowing to transfer a global knowledge and adapt it to local material availability and socio-technical context. Think global but act local could be the summary for a grounded but innovative material. Rather than providing an endless of solution, the presentation will illustrate a general methodology, through some specific examples. To conclude we will question the position of robotic fabrication within this sustainability targets and propose options where indeed low carbon materials are merged with digital fabrication.


20.00 h – 21.00 h
Panel Discussion
Dr Guillaume Habert. Dr. Emanuele Naboni; Dr. Angela Barrios Padura. Moderator:
Dr Reyes García Rodriguez

Thursday, 26th May 2022
9.00 h – 11.00 h
Circular Climate Workshop I. Building a 1:1 Carbon Positive and Nature-Based
Design Climate Change in Sevilla. Design with Upcycling. Leverage Nature-Based Solutions 

Dr. Emanuele Naboni

Designers are now aware – and maybe the first generation to be aware – of the global impact that the built environment contributes to climate change, localized abrupt temperature changes, and degradation of the ecosystem with irreversible consequences affecting the ecosystem and health.

The challenge of rethinking design for such complexity is taken in this short Circular Climate Workshop. The workshop envisions the sketching of a 1:1 prototype in Sevilla able to capitalize on climate change dynamics to re-establish a positive microclimate, decarbonization and link between new bio and technical flows.

Attending students will be able to design local microclimates by capitalizing on forms defined by the metabolism of nature-based solutions, recycled and upscaled materials.

11.30 h – 13.30 h
Sustainable Building Materials
Dr. José Silvestre

The construction, use and rehabilitation of buildings generate substantial environmental impacts, namely due to the significant consumption of energy resources and environmental emissions. Eco-innovation can support however the reduction of these impacts to mitigate climate change.

In fact, eco-design (ecologic design) of products and the creation of information and stimulus for the efficient use of more ecologic products should be motivated. The implementation of this strategy at a European level is giving rise to the birth of criteria for ecologic purchases (green procurement). The use of this type of criteria in public purchases, in particular, can lead to a positive differentiation of the products that comply with the requirements demanded, and to the implementation of environmental improvements in the production processes of the products with the worst performance.

Available environmental databases of environmental impacts of construction products at an international level include: Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) registration systems with site-specific data from each producer; generic databases developed for specific regional contexts; research studies for innovative construction materials.

Researchers from the PositiveCycle group from CERIS (Civil Engineering Research and Innovation for Sustainability) centre at Instituto Superior Técnico – Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal, already made important contributions for the body of knowledge related with Eco-innovation in product development, including thermal insulation materials, construction materials with recycled content, and composite and bio-based construction products. This lecture will present some of these results, and available data at the international level for the sustainability assessment of buildings and other construction works.

Keywords: Eco-innovation, environmental impacts, costs, multi-criteria analysis, building materials.

13.30 h – 14.00 h
Panel Discussion

Dr Reyes Rodríguez García. Dr. José Silvestre Moderator: Carlos Tapia Martín

16.00 h – 17.30 h
Life Cycle Assessment of Construction Materials
Dr. José Silvestre

LCA is an important tool to identify, quantify and prevent environmental impacts over the life cycle of buildings. The application of LCA to the construction materials’ industries makes manufacturers look at the processes from the production stage until the end-of-life of a product, and acknowledge and reduce their global environmental, social and/or economic impacts. Besides improving their processes, manufacturers are also challenged to choose more sustainable raw materials and energy sources, to reduce transport distance, and to improve their products’ performance at installation, during operation and at end-of-life.

The application of environmental (LCA) and economic (or LCC) LCA to Construction are methodologies recognized and standardized at the European level, which are becoming more and more important, and which are being increasingly used in this sector. The LC paradigm emerges, and construction materials and buildings now represent the sum of all impacts and costs in the respective LC (no longer seen as an individual impact and cost).

The application of a detailed LCA approach to construction works is a complex, onerous and extensive task. This also happens because of the quantity of products and processes included in this industry, the long-life cycle of these products when finished, the different service life of the components of the building and the dynamic that differentiates buildings from other standard industrial products, namely during execution, use and end-of-life phases.

This lecture will focus on the Environmental LCA methodology, and on how it can support eco-innovation, circular economy, thermal retrofit of buildings and construction digitalization.

Keywords: Life Cycle Assessment, environmental impacts, construction, life cycle costs, buildings.

18.00 h – 20.30 h
Circular Climate Workshop II. Building a 1:1 Carbon Positive and Nature-Based
Sketching the Prototype.

Dr. Emanuele Naboni

20.30 h – 21.00 h
Panel discussion and conclusions
Dr. José Silvestre, Dr. Emanuele Naboni. Moderator: Reyes Rodriguez García.

Wednesday, 1st June 2022
16.00 h – 18.30 h
Ecolabels and environmental declarations
Dr. Ángela Barrios Padura and Dr. Reyes Rodríguez Garcia

The Ecolabels of construction materials help us certify the sustainability of architectural interventions. They are the guarantee of the limitation of negative impacts on the environment and people of construction products, and of the communication of environmental information by companies. To Acquire knowledge about the European directives on environmental labelling is essential to understand the scope of the guarantees and prescribe or recommend among producers those that demonstrate better environmental performance. In the seminar, a critical analysis of eco-labels and environmental declarations of construction products will be carried out, in order to train students in decision-making in sustainable construction processes. In addition to, it will insist on the need to know and characterize the various materials and products from the knowledge of their composition and manufacturing processes, to carry out more appropriate decisions from an ecological point of view.

Key words: Ecolabel, environmental declaration, construction materials, sustainable construction.

19.00 h – 20.30 h
Present and future of construction materials
Dr. Reyes Rodríguez García

This conference will be a corollary to the seminar, prior to the conclusions. It will present the most relevant observations from the panel discussions and colloquiums, as well as the interventions most closely linked to the applications and properties of the materials and products.

The aim is also to propose the most appropriate strategies and provide an environment in which to define ways of doing things and, above all, ways of moving forward with

20.00 h – 21.00 h
Dr. Reyes Rodríguez García

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