2025 ARCC Conference Topics


EMERGING CHALLENGES: technological, environmental, social

April 2-5, 2025  I  College Park, MD & Washington DC  I  Co-hosted by the University of Maryland & Howard University
Conference Co-Chairs: Madlen Simon and Ed Dunson

National Museum of African-American History (2016), Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup, Washington, DC

ARCC 2025 invites paper and poster submissions that address the emerging challenges defining architectural research now. Topic areas for the conference are identified below. The conference will highlight the role of architectural research in addressing the global questions of our time, including climate change, migration, rebuilding post-conflict, rapid urbanization, sustainable cities and communities, healthy buildings and cities, and clean water. We are interested in research addressing the grand challenges at a range of scales, from macro to micro. We seek research at the global, regional, national, and local levels. We are interested in investigations at dual scales, such as impacts on the individual within the environment, the building within the city, the city within the region, etc. We encourage submissions that probe the limits of architecture and the power of collaborative research to tackle wicked problems. We encourage groundbreaking multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches to research questions. We explore the intersections and boundaries of research and design. We encourage submissions from design professionals participating in research within the context of practice. We welcome design studio faculty exploring the pedagogy of research in the context of design studies. We welcome research that takes up emerging challenges as opportunities for architecture to offer innovative approaches, collaborations, explorations, data collections, visualizations, theories, interpretations, frameworks, technologies, and pedagogies.

> Technological challenges
This track addresses technologies’ potentially disruptive and/or transformative roles and approaches to building science. The track addresses topics such as artificial intelligence, data-driven design, new materials, automated building systems, digital fabrication, simulations and digital twins, robotics, neuroscientific modalities, applied research case studies, etc. 

> Environmental challenges

This track addresses architecture as part of the ecosystem, including architecture in the era of climate change, the relationship between architecture and landscape, water systems, urban systems, energy systems, etc. Some specific topics include disaster response and design for a warming world [Climate change?] , design for water, design for storms, passive sustainable design, traditional design in harmony with nature, daylighting, shading, electric lighting, natural ventilation, environmental comfort, environmental systems, energy generation, life cycle cost analysis, deconstruction, building materials, new concrete technologies, carbon sequestration, net-zero architecture, net-positive architecture, design for other planets, applied research case studies, etc.

> Social challenges 

This track includes social science approaches. We welcome research on topics. The track addresses topics such including environmental psychology, neuroarchitecture, human response to built environments, well-being in the built environment, healing environments, community engagement in the design process, place-making, post-occupancy evaluation, human-centered design, health, design thinking, evidence-based practice, applied research case studies, etc.

> Historical/theoretical challenges 

This track includes history, theory, and criticism, including papers that probe the social, cultural, and technological forces that impact the built environment. Papers may focus on local, regional, national, or global histories. They may consider preservation and adaptive reuse as ongoing histories. We are interested in interpretations and reinterpretations. Papers may probe the limits and potentials of theoretical frameworks. We welcome research into the historical contributions of under-recognized women and people of color.

> Pedagogical challenges

In this track, we welcome investigations of the pedagogy of research, particularly as it relates to the conference theme and emerging challenges. Papers may offer innovative approaches to teaching research methods, including teaching multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research methods. This track also welcomes explorations of teaching design within the studio context, applications of design in the studio, and design as research. Papers should have a clearly defined scope and rigorously frame the approach. The focus should be on analysis and interpretation rather than documentation and description.

Open Track
This track will include topics not directly addressed in the categories above but offer interesting perspectives on the broad conference theme and emerging challenges.


Direct inquiries to:
Barbara Klinghammer