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MARCH 28-29, 2025

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Let there be light – fiat lux

All material in nature, the mountains and the streams and the air and we, are made of Light which has been spent, and this crumpled mass called material casts a shadow, and the shadow belongs to Light.

Louis Kahn | Silence & Light

Let There Be Light may be, in fact, one of the most inspiring quotes ever written. We are not just dependent on light, but life itself couldn’t exist without it. Light's significance in science, architecture, art, and philosophy has been a subject of investigation and contemplation for centuries. Light's substance and elusive properties continue to baffle us. Light behaves as if intelligent, knowing that someone is watching it perform. Newton’s prism revealed its colorful nature as both light and matter; consequently, Light MATTERS.

Architecture is not just a container for light but a medium that interacts with its magnificence. Form and materiality cannot be visually perceived or experienced bodily without the presence of light. The absence of light, or 'Lightless’ (Lobell, 2008), is a condition of darkness, formless and void, perhaps a moment before the expansion of time and space.

Volume zero refers to Kelvin’s definition of when all motion stops and gas freezes into a solid state when the vibratory motion of particles ceases at absolute zero. Volume zero also defines an immensely dense moment before the spatial expansion of the universe. Scientists describe this black physical state as void of space, light, and gravity, as a condition before the Big Bang. The observed universe continues to expand at amazing speed, defying our understanding of space, time, and light.

Louis Kahn (born Estonian), a master of form and light, defined volume zero as his search for beginnings and being, a pursuit foundational to the material and spiritual aspects of his architecture. For countless years, human beings walked the earth following the light and created volumes from the primitive hut to modern classics as a tribute to light.

Light, an electromagnetic wave and a photon, triggers chemical reactions on our retina and fires up neurons in our visual cortex. It is the magical origin of life and vital for architecture.

Light MATTERS is the theme for the RIXARCH 2025 Architectural Design Conference. This unique event will not only celebrate the Nordic masters but also provide a platform to learn from their innovative practices. RIXArch 2025 will feature Gunnar Birkerts as the Conference Focus on his 100th. anniversary. Birkerts, dubbed the master of light, used light apertures and the illumination they produced for practical and symbolic purposes in his architecture. He used light to direct views, indicate movement, highlight edges, fill spaces, and bring attention to ritual, working together to support his highly metaphorical architecture.

RIXArch 2025 / III. The International Architectural Design Conference will be held on March 28-29, 2025, in Riga, Latvia. Organized by RISEBA University Faculty of Architecture and Design in collaboration with the Latvian National Library and Arhiteksti Foundation, the conference aims to bring together distinguished and emerging scholars and host an international forum to facilitate discussions on current issues in architecture.

Proposals from all over the world are welcome and all submitted abstracts will undergo a double-blind peer review. Accepted submissions will be published in extended abstract form in the conference proceedings book, with an ISBN given to you on the conference day. We invite you to join us at the RIXARCH Conference.


“I come from the north,” Birkerts says, “where light is not very plentiful and so I have an intuitive feel about light. I know how to take in, reflect it, deflect it.”


Gunnar Birkerts (Schwartz, 2005)

Lobell, J., Between Silence and Light- Spirit in the Architecture of Louis Kahn, 2008

Schwartz, M., Daylight and Meaning in the Architecture of Gunnar Birkerts, 2005


White Paper Topics

2024 THEME:

2024 FOCUS:
Gunnar Birkerts and Nordic Masters
Creativity and innovation
Physiological perspectives
Digital Age and Computer-Aided design
Artificial intelligence
Digital fabrication and robotic craft
Smart HVAC Systems 
Internet of Things
Metaphors, symbols, geometry
Participatory design
Structural innovation and development

New Technologies in design and construction
Transportable buildings and adaptation
Structure types and design
Intelligent, smart materials and building skins
Education and curriculum models

Design with nature
Organic architecture
Climatic design
Green façades
Low energy architecture
Case studies
Design, locality, and culture
Vernacular architecture
Local materials
Landscape design
Gender and architecture
Historical perspectives
Theoretical perspectives
Rhetoric, metaphors, and architecture 
Politics, economy, urban perspectives
Criticism and history of architecture
Architectural criticism and critical theory 
Everyday life, ideology and culture
Phenomenology and architecture
Body, movement and space
Perception, feeling and space
Metaphors, symbols and peoplet
Architecture and arts

Utopia and dystopia remembered
Slums and urban landscapes
Haunted spaces/places and non-spaces
Place and identity
Design in historical context
Urban planning challenges in 21st Century
Smart Cities
Ecosystem and urban ecology
COVID-19 Pandemic 
Housing Issues
Best (and Worst) practices: Informing future possibilities
Participation and governance
Infrastructure, facilities, systems
Rethinking planning and urban Design
Evolving and declining models of city planning practice
Critical perspectives towards social life in cities


Scientific Committee

in alphabetical order

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Dina Suhanova is a research fellow at the recently founded Institute of Contemporary Art, Design and Architecture of the Art Academy of Latvia. Dina has a diploma in Architecture and a Master of Arts degree in History and Theory of Art and Culture. Parallel to several years in architecture practice, Dina has turned her interests toward processes, research and activities related to contemporary architecture culture. Dina has been an editor of numerous academic publications and frequently contributes with writings and publications to local and international journals. In recent years Dina has also performed as an Architecture programme director, and lecturer at RISEBA and led various interdisciplinary projects related to the architecture field and education. In 2019 Dina was a co-curator of the international conference “Architecture of Migration” organized by the Latvian Association of Architects as part of the Union of International Architects forum in Riga.

From 2022 Dina is one of the researchers working in the Latvian Science council funded State research program project “Landscapes of Identities: History, Culture, and Environment” (IDEUM) within the Art Academy of Latvia.


Efe Duyan, born in İstanbul in 1981, teaching theory, history, and design at Mimar Sinan FAU since 2013. He has affiliated with several universities for research or guest lectures, such as Berlin Technical University, Ca' Foscari University, Minnesota University, Istanbul Technical University, Atalanta University, Iowa University, George Washington University, and Boston Massachusetts University.

His fields of research are contemporary design, critical design perspectives, spatial experience, architectural writing and theory, Early Modernism, and the history of Eastern Mediterranean architecture. He has studied architecture and philosophy at METU (BA - 2005), History and Theory of Architecture at YTU (M.S.-2008), and History of Architecture in Mimar Sinan FAU (PhD-2013). 

As an advocate of freedom of expression and creative thinking, he has been an active cultural actor curating international events, workshops, and conferences, in addition to his work in academic editorship.

He has also an international career as a poet and author. His poetry has been translated over twenty-five languages and invited to numerous literary events in the world, including Iowa University’s International Writing Program and St. Louis University’s Hurst Professorship program.

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Helēna Gutmane is a landscape architect, urbanist, urban activist, and planner. She is a partner and process designer at atelier for landscaping, public and private spaces ALPS and lecturer at RISEBA. She is co-founder of Urban Institute Riga and member of Riga centre development association (RCAB).  Helena studied philology at University of Moscow and University of Latvia, obtained qualification landscape architecture at Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, planning of human settlements at Architecture department, University of Leuven. Currently she is a candidate PHD at University of Leuven and University of Latvia, her research interests include socio-affective aspects of spatial transformation practices, urban planning and design on intersection of social psychology, political sociology, anthropology, and human geography. As a principal landscape architect and process designer she has been participated in numerous projects of public space reconstructions and competitions in Latvia and abroad, has led applied research projects concerning publics spaces, worked in competition juries in Latvia, Russia and Ukraine.  As urban activist she has been involved in international federation of landscape architects (IFLA) as chair of UIA working group which aim was to unite professionals from spatial design disciplines around idea of empathy through design. Her curatorial experience includes organisation and curating of conferences, innovating educational programmes, seminars in Latvia and abroad, among them the 1st Award of Latvian landscape architecture as president of association of Latvian landscape architects (LAAA). 

Helena’ s journalism and publication experience include year’s long work as quest editor for the landscape architecture at Latvijas Architectura, as scientific editor at Ukraine based journal “Landscape & Architecture”, as well as numerous popular and scientific articles in Latvian and foreign journals.  



Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, MA Architecture programme director

Rudolfs Dainis Šmits, Dipl. Arch., is a dean of the faculty and MA Architecture programme director, lecturer. Dainis is also a globally experienced architect – currently leading his own practice RDSA Studio based in Riga. He studied architecture, art history and painting at the University of Illinois, Chicago and theology at Covenant Theological Seminary. St. Louis in the USA.

Dainis has over 30 years of experience working in multi-cultural environments (e.g. Europe, Middle East and Central Asia). As principal architect and design manager he has been involved and lead various largescale commercial, residential, and civic projects. Design collaboration as associate architect with Gunnar Birkerts FAIA on the National Library of Latvia, Riga (2006-2012) and with Hill International, Senior Design manager for The Grand Egyptian Museum, Cairo (2012-2016); Heneghan-Peng Architects, Dublin; and WestField Hamburg-Uberseequatier, port development project (2017), participating architects (e.g. Christian de Portsamparc, UN Studio, HPP International and others). Internationally, he has focused on project idea delivery, design management and specialist experience incl. design innovation and research, technical detailing and value engineering of complex building envelope systems, specialist facades systems, curtain walls, glazed structures; stainless steel and stone cladding systems.

Academic interest and research include architecture theory – a critical approach to design and reading architecture distinguishing between idea, concept and affect vs. projective architecture. He is investigating architectural space and aspects of memory, meaning, duration, transcendence, presence and parallel investigations in abstract painting – exhibited locally and internationally (e.g. Latvia, Estonia and the USA). His projects have received local recognition and international citations for design excellence (e.g. LAS, AIA). Previous teaching experience – adjunct faculty member at Riga Technical University, Faculty of Architecture, 2nd-year studio design instructor and professional practice lecturer (2000-2003).

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Susanne Brorson graduated from Bauhaus-University in Weimar in 2004 with a Diploma in Architecture, with studies at the University of the Arts in Berlin and Politecnico di Milano, Italy. She has been working with Jarmund Vigsnaes in Oslo, East and Stephen Taylor Architects in London and Gonzalez Haase AAS in Berlin, before setting up her own award-winning practice STUDIO SUSANNE BRORSON on the Baltic Island of Rügen. Susanne is currently finalizing her PhD on ‘Climate-responsive design strategies in Baltic vernacular architecture’ at Berlin Technical University Berlin. She has been assistant professor at Brandenburg Technical University as well as adjunct professor at Potsdam School of Architecture, before being appointed professor at Wismar University of Technology 2019-2021. Susanne is currently guest professor and member of the academic council at RISEBA FAD University in Riga.



Zane Vēja, Mg. arch. started her academic career as a lecturer at RISEBA FAD, teaching urban design, architecture history and architectural design-related courses; at the same time, she is the director of RISEBA FAD bachelor’s degree programme. Her undergraduate and postgraduate work focused on urban public space development proposals in historical environments: the Jēkabpils historical centre (BA) and Riga Central Market and Central Railway Station territory (MA). She gained international experience while studying at Istanbul Bahcesehir University in 2014-2015.  

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in alphabetical order

Anna Kvelde

Anna Saurova

Anna Strazda

Efe Duyan (Vice-Chair)

Ernst Austriņš

Igors Malovickis

Rudolf Dainis Smits (Chair)

Zane Veja




8:30 Registration

9:00 Opening Remarks

9:30 Keynote Lectures

12:00 Lunch

13:00 Parallel White Paper Sessions

16:00 Panel Discussion


Social Events

Exhibition Opening

Closing Ceremony 

Conf Info

Conference Info



to be announced









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The public event will be photographed and filmed. Photo and video materials will be processed and used for publicity purposes. By being at the event site, you acknowledge that you have been informed and have no objection to being photographed, filmed and included in the audio and / or visual materials of the event review, which will be published in RISEBA and other informational channels.
The processing of information containing all personal data in the event will be used with the basic principles of personal data processing and confidentiality requirements specified in RISEBA internal documents.


A conference proceedings book with an ISBN number will published and given to the participants on the conference day. All Extended Abstracts will be in included in the book. If you will not submit an extended abstract, your original abstract will be published.


In collaboration with ADAMarts Journal by RISEBA University (ISSN 2256-0890), selected full papers will be brought together in a special dossier (expected in 2023) after another double-blind peer-review process, which will be carried out by the ADAMarts Editorial Board. Submission of full papers is optional and will not affect your participation at the conference. We would like to remind you that there is no guarantee that your manuscript will be accepted.


Upon receiving your acceptance, you must complete your registration process to confirm your participation.

Registration includes full access to all sessions, coffee breaks, lunch, and closing reception, plus conference materials, certificate, proceedings book.

- The certificate will state that you have attended the event and made your presentation. It will contain a wet-ink signature, mention all authors of the paper and be given to you at the end of the day.

- A registration has to be made for each presentation and it will cover one proceedings book and one certificate. You can purchase extra copies of the book if you prefer.

- A single registration covers the in-person participation of one author. If other authors of your manuscript would like to attend the event in person, an additional Listener registration has to be made. 

- You cannot be the first author of three or more papers.

- There are no poster or video-presentation options but if, for unforeseen reasons, you cannot attend the event, you can still join your session online and you will be sent an e-book and e-certificate (not physical copies). If you cannot carry out your presentation, your extended abstract will still be in the book but we will not able to provide a certificate.

- For professional courtesy and to increase the quality and variety of the academic discussions, we kindly ask you to spend the whole day in the venue. Presenters are expected to present their work in the designated sessions and we will not be able to make changes based on non-academic reasons. Please make sure that your travel itinerary and personal schedule fit the conference program.




Participants with Academic Presentation 

In-person or online presentations.

250 Euro (Early Bird 200 EUR)

Additional Presentation
For subsequent papers in case of multiple presentations of the same FIRST author.

100 Euro

Free of Charge

You can attend and listen to the sessions for free if you prefer to waive the certificate to prove your participation, lunch ticket, and conference materials as a student. You still need to fill in the registration form selecting the corresponding category.


100 Euro (Early Bird 75 EUR)

This is for non-presenter participants and participating co-authors who will personally attend the conference. You will receive conference materials, be able to attend the lunch, receptions, social activities, and LATVIJAS ARHITEKTU SAVIENĪBAS CERTIFICATE FOR CREDITS proving your participation.



The H2O 6 quarter is located by the Zunda canal, on the border between Āgenskalns and Dzirciems. In a modern and creative environment, in one of the most modern districts of Riga with a future.

Durbes Iela 4, 
Riga, Latvia
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Contact Us

Contact Us

Faculty of Architecture and Design
Address: 4 Durbes Street, Riga, LV-1007
Phone: + 371 29 349 122

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