past events

Living the Change

Bellastock (France)
01 Dec 2023|7:00 pm ESALA Public Lecture Series, Frictions | Online


Bellastock will share 15 years of experiments in circular economy and transitory urbanism applied to the fields of urban design, architecture, and construction. Demonstrative projects and field studies involving the reuse of reclaimed building elements and tactical urbanism fed the development of public applied-research programs that contributed to the dissemination of a collaborative and frugal culture among planning and architecture professionals. Through its annual festival, workshops, and professional training programmes, Bellastock is also fully committed in the sharing of innovative practices among professionals and future professionals, and in pedagogy and sensitization among a wider public.

These complementary fields of action give Bellastock the capacity to explore and develop new ways to work the materiality of places, buildings and territories, in response to the challenges of tomorrow which are, more than ever, the challenges of today.


Bellastock is a cooperative community-oriented enterprise (SCIC) in the field of architecture. Our work focuses on the valuation of territories and resources. Bellastock has 10 years of experience in circular economy applied to the construction sector, and especially on the reuse of building elements, through demonstrative pioneering projects and national and European research programmes. This has allowed our organization to provide technical assistance in more than 100 architectural projects and raise awareness among the French construction sector.

Bellastock thus initiates innovative, ecological, and solidarity-based projects, and proposes alternatives to the traditional act of building by organising the flows of materials and prefiguring territorial transformations.

In 2020, Bellastock won the ‘Palmarès des Jeunes Urbanistes’ (‘Young Urbanists Award’), awarded every two years by the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion and the Ministry of Ecological Transition.

Anupama Kundoo : ESALA Frictions

Anupama Kundoo (Germany/India)
24 Nov 2023|7:00 pm ESALA Public Lecture Series, Frictions | Online


Anupama Kundoo’s work begins with and remains close to the deep human need to have purpose, refuge, and social engagement. It speaks through details; details that foster intimacy and variety, sensory and spatial. It is where makers engage with hand and mind to produce objects they are proud of, where they transform simple materials with care and intelligence into purposeful structures, where they are challenged to do more with less, and where they routinely exceed all expectations including their own.

Her work is about the innovation and socio-economic abundance that results from research and investment in materials and building techniques. The act of building produces knowledge just as much as the resulting knowledge produces buildings. Each lesson learned and each incremental improvement drives micro-decisions that, over time, produce the disproportionate and cumulative increases that we call abundance.

Non-Extractive Architecture

Joseph Grima, Space Caviar (Netherlands/Italy)
17 Nov 2023|7:00 pm ESALA Public Lecture Series, Frictions | Online


Could architecture be understood as the practice of guardianship of the environment, both physical and social, rather than an agent of depletion? Could the role of the architect deal less with form and more with integration, circularity, reuse, material research, and community building? Could supply chains be made shorter, and could buildings be more closely tied to the economies in which they exist? What are the models and metrics that such a paradigm could adopt?

As the true urgency of the environmental crises we face becomes clear, architecture requires fundamental reinvention. The assumption that the building industry can only fulfill humanity’s needs with the irreversible exploitation of the environment, of people, and of the future needs to be reconsidered.


Joseph Grima is a British architect, critic, curator, and editor. He is the creative director of Design Academy Eindhoven and co-founder of the design research studio, Space Caviar

EFI Transforming the Old Infirmary

Alasdair Gordon, Bennetts Associates
15 Nov 2023|11:00 am ESALA | Online

Alasdair jointly leads the Bennetts Associates’ Edinburgh office and has directed a number of high-profile projects across the higher education, office and cultural sectors. He was project architect for the construction phase of the Potterrow Development and Informatics Forum for the University of Edinburgh and continues to be involved in post-occupancy studies. The project won 12 major awards including the RIAS Andy Doolan Prize 2008 for ‘Best Building in Scotland’. Alasdair’s current projects include the conversion of Edinburgh’s former Royal Infirmary and the Data Technology Institute for the University of Edinburgh.

Safe, sustainable & healthy

Panel Discussion, Build Better Now
09 Nov 2023|9:00 am COP26 Built Environment Virtual Pavilion | Online

The Building Safety Bill is set to re-shape the way the construction industry operates. Its impacts will be broad-ranging: affecting building design, construction, and operation, as well as the way these are regulated. 

This event will consider how safe, human-centred and low carbon design principles can interact under the Building Safety Bill. Our goal is climate conscious buildings that promote wellbeing (beyond preventing disaster), but how can we get there?

Transformative Timber

Robert Hairstans, Napier University
08 Nov 2023| ESALA | Online


Professor Robert Hairstans is head of the Centre for Offsite Construction + Innovative Structures (COCIS) within Edinburgh Napier University’s Institute for Sustainable Construction, where he leads on research, innovation and knowledge exchange activities designed to deliver construction technologies for tomorrow’s communities within a circular economy. His specialist expertise is in the fields of timber engineering and technology with a focus on adding value to the timber supply chain with an emphasis on engineered timber products and offsite (modular) construction.

Devenir Universidad

Ursula Biemann, Geobodies (Switzerland)
03 Nov 2023|7:00 pm ESALA Public Lecture Series, Frictions | Online


The video projects of Ursula Biemann generally take a systemic approach to terrestrial conditions by connecting the micropolitics on the ground with a theoretical and planetary macro level. The main protagonist in her recent narratives is the figure of the indigenous scientist who emerges from a shared history of colonialism and the appearance of modern science. Her field research in the summer 2018 took her to the South of Colombia. At the invitation of an indigenous leader, she is currently involved in the co-creation of a Biocultural Indigenous University in the Amazon. Grounded in an international partnership, the visionary project aims to integrate indigenous knowledge systems with modern science, fostering a supportive ecocentric worldview. The project involves the creation of an online audiovisual platform on the process of an Indigenous territory becoming University.


Ursula Biemann is an artist, writer, and video essayist based in Zurich. Her artistic practice is strongly research oriented and involves fieldwork in remote locations where she investigates climate change and the ecologies of oil, ice, forests and water, as in the recent projects Deep Weather (2013), Forest Law (2014, Subatlantic (2015) and Acoustic Ocean (2018). Her video installations are exhibited worldwide in museums and at international art biennials in Liverpool, Sharjah, Shanghai, Sevilla, Istanbul, Montreal, Venice, Taipei and Sao Paulo. She had comprehensive solo exhibitions at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein n.b.k., Bildmuseet in Umeo, Lentos Museum Linz and Helmhaus Zurich. Publisher of several books and the online monograph Becoming Earth on her ecological videos and writing ( Cofounder of the collaborative World of Matter project and Devenir Universidad on the co-creation of an indigenous University in the Amazon (deveniruniversidad.ort). Biemann studied Art in Mexico and New York. She received a doctor honoris causa in Humanities by the Swedish University Umea and the Prix Meret Oppenheim, the Swiss Grand Award for Art.

Embodied Carbon

Louisa Bowles, Hawkins/Brown
01 Nov 2023|11:00 am ESALA | Online


Louisa Bowles is the Head of Sustainability at HawkinsBrown. She leads the practice’s dedicated team of sustainability specialists and has structured the practice’s Whole Life Carbon strategy to ensure all projects are measuring and monitoring the balance between embodied carbon and operational energy. She was instrumental in the development of HB:ERT, HawkinsBrown’s Revit-based carbon measuring tool – originally released in 2018, it is fast becoming a go-to tool for measuring embodied carbon.