About the Conference 

MoMA x Iceland University of the Arts

Conference venue
Austurbakka 2, 101 Reykjavík

October 11-13, 2023
Optional tours October 14th

The Third Ecology
The effects of the anthropogenic climate crisis has compelled a resurgence of scholarship about the often fraught relationship between the built and the natural environment. The connection between the building sector and the disruption on the physical systems of the planet are not merely coincidental but causal. Currently, global building activity produces nearly 40% of the world’s yearly greenhouse gas emissions, making architecture, broadly, one of the most polluting activities in human history. That a new “climatic turn” appears to be taking shape in architecture history is no surprise, but does the changing climate also require a new methodology for writing architecture history? If historians now know that architecture is causing ecological harm, how should the field of architecture history respond? Seen through the lens of environmental justice, does the climate crisis impel architecture histories of environment to address decolonization and anti-racism?

General Chair
Fríða Björk Ingvarsdóttir
         Former Rector, Iceland University of the Arts

Carson Chan
        Director, MoMA – Ambasz Institute
Óskar Örn Arnórsson
        Assistant Professor, Architecture Iceland University of the Arts 

Scientific Committee
Óskar Arnórsson
        Assistant Professor, Architecture Iceland University of the Arts
Pétur Ármannsson
       Departmen Head,  The Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland
Anna María Bogadóttir
        Associate Professor, Iceland University of the Arts 
Sigurjón Baldur Hafsteinsson
        Professor, Head of Department of Museumology, University of Iceland
Mari Lending
        Professor, Oslo School of Architecture
Sofia Nannini
        Assistant Professor, Politecnico di Torino, Italy
Marianne Skjulhaug
        Dean of the Oslo National Academy of the Arts
Hulda Stefánsdóttir
        Dean of Academic Research Development, Iceland University of the Arts

EAHN Architecture and Enviornment Representatives
Dalal Musaed Alsayer
        Assistant Professor – Kuwait University
Megan Eardley
        Ph.D. Candidate, Princeton University

Organizing Committee
Eva María Árnadóttir
        Dean of School of Fine Art, Design and Architecture, Iceland University of the Arts
Tinna Pétursdóttir
        Project Manager, Iceland University of the Arts
Dewi Tan 
        MoMA – Ambasz Institute
Matthew Wagstaffe
        MoMA – Ambasz Institute
Eva Lavranou
     MoMA – Ambasz Institute


Established in 2005, the European Architectural History Network supports research and education by providing a public forum for the exchange and dissemination of knowledge of the histories of architecture. Based in Europe, it is open to architectural historians and scholars in allied fields from all countries.

We have members from countries across the world who work in many different fields and disciplines. The Network is proud to represent a broad and multidisciplinary constituency with a diverse approach to the built environment within the arts, humanities and social sciences.

The EAHN has no national affiliation. Its exclusive aim is the promotion of international exchange and collaboration. The rapid growth and success of the Network is a clear indication of the demand for – and interest in – an international forum for multiple histories of architecture.

Ambasz Institute
The Emilio Ambasz Institute for the Joint Study of the Built and the Natural Environment is a platform for fostering dialogue, promoting conversation, and facilitating research about the relationship between the built and natural environment, with the aim of making the interaction between architecture and ecology visible and accessible to the wider public while highlighting the urgent need for an ecological recalibration. The establishment of the Institute was inspired by Emilio Ambasz’s visionary role in the emergence of architecture’s ecological consciousness.

The mission of the Ambasz Institute is to promote the exploration and study of creative approaches to design at all scales of the built environment—buildings, cities, landscapes, and objects—with an emphasis on understanding their joint relationship to the natural environment. Through research and a variety of programs, including public lectures, conferences and symposia, and their digital equivalents, the Institute aims to be a globally influential think tank dedicated to furthering our understanding of the interactions between design and ecology. The Institute’s mission is interdisciplinary, bringing together architects, designers, policy makers, social thinkers, historians, and the general public. Acknowledging how the Anthropocene has undermined any semblance of balance between human endeavor and ecological stability, the work of the Institute will synthesize research and programmatic initiatives with current sociopolitical issues to help solidify cultural and art institutions’ relevance for today’s diverse audiences.

The social responsibility of the museum goes beyond public education through exhibitions, publications, and programming. MoMA recognizes its role as a thought leader in discussions about the values and actions that define us as a cultural community. At the Ambasz Institute, we strive to provide a safe and inclusive space and to find ways forward together in order to build sustainable and environmentally just futures. We aim to raise awareness about the ways our habits have impacted the environment, and to help people understand that to truly tackle the climate crisis we need to adopt a collaborative approach that includes perspectives and knowledge from all communities, particularly those that have been historically marginalized.

Iceland University of the Arts
The Iceland University of the Arts was founded in 1998 on the grounds of separate arts colleges with a vision to create a single umbrella for all the fields within the arts.

The University is the only higher education institution in the field of the arts nationwide, providing higher education in the fields of fine art, performing arts, music, film, design, architecture and art education. As such, the University is responsible for education, research, research development and policy-making in the arts in Iceland. Moreover, the University seeks to foster its relations with the wider community by offering continuing education through its Open IUA platform, organising a myriad of public events each year, and operating numerous exhibition and performance venues where student work is presented to the public. It operates in a global environment and measures itself against academies that excel in arts education world wide.

Learning Culture
The IUA is a learning community where creative thinking is at the forefront and experimentation is encouraged. The community is characterised by interactive sharing and development of ideas and knowledge. Students develop critical thinking in active conversation and are responsible participants in a multifaceted and cross- disciplinary learning community. Small groups of students create an educational environment where individuals have a strong voice and opportunity to develop their own artistic approach. Overlapping art fields and the connection between creativity, skill, and academics are characteristic of the IUA. Students think, express, and implement their ideas in different media in workshops, studios, and in the field.

Research Culture
Diverse research is conducted at the IUA, using various materials, forms, and media. Methodology of art as a source of knowledge is based on integration of artistic practice, academics, and research. New research methods are developed based on artistic processes. Academic freedom and flexibility in an experimental research environment where varied artistic methods are used in addition to research methods based on tradition and history. Research is a platform for generating knowledge, for creation, and experimental mediation. There is respect for different approaches, topics, and presentations.

Social Ethos
The IUA engages in an open and active dialogue with the present. As an advocate of courage and initiative, the IUA is a dynamic force in society. It displays professional and social responsibility with a constructive and critical view on prevailing values. Tactile knowledge, an experimental environment, and creative space is characteristic of all approach. Respect, tolerance, and equality are the guiding light.