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APRIL 12-13, 2024




Call for Papers

Call for Papers

A blind spot, or punctum caecum, is the point of entry of the optic nerve on the retina insensitive to light. Most of the time we don’t notice our blind spot because each eye supplies information to the brain, filling in what’s missing; or, sometimes the brain filling in the missing information with what it thinks should be there. It is also a certain psychological tendency to fail to see the impact of biases on one's judgment and think of their perceptions and judgments as accurate and free of bias.

Recent architectural thinking has a tendency to acknowledge blind spots and biases. In transitioning to a more green, digital, and socially inclusive architecture, we have been trying to shed light on our blind spots. Scholars embrace the built environment democratically; historians write the past in vulnerable and honest ways; engineers rethink buildings in socially conscious ways. Pedagogy has become increasingly flexible and is trying to place itself in the education, research, and business triangle. Our urban policies consciously challenge long-standing issues of destruction, earthquake, floods, pandemic, gentrification, overpopulation, and pollution. Architecture, urbanism, and design professions provide more opportunities and gender-equal conditions. Designers nowadays are well aware of their role as difference-makers beyond technical achievements, iconic forms, and functional fulfillment.

However, did we manage to create a difference? Looking back at our history and our own blind spots, one can notice incredible difference-makers, such as the Latvian woman architect and educator Astra Zarina, who still haven’t received the recognition they deserve. Zarina (1929- 2008), who taught architecture for decades, influenced countless architects, including Steven Holl and Tom Kundig.  She was born in Riga, Latvia, but emigrated to Seattle and earned her B.Arch from the University of Washington (UW) in 1953. She later obtained her M.Arch from MIT and worked in the Detroit-area office of Minoru Yamasaki. In 1960, Zarina became the first female recipient of the American Academy in Rome Fellowship for Architecture. Zarina consistently advocated for public spaces and the urban communities they fostered. Her restoration works, such as Civita di Bagnoregio, a dramatic hilltop, or urban perspectives, such as the Rooftops of Rome, express the care and generosity in her architectural thinking. Her teachings influenced a generation of architects, and she has been an inspiration for Latvian designers and women architects all around the world. 

Inspired by Astra Zarina's lifelong achievements, we invite you to face our blind spots and celebrate the difference-making efforts in architecture.


RIXARCH 2024 / II. International Architectural Design Conference will be held on April 11-12, 2024, in Riga, Latvia. RISEBA University Faculty of Architecture organizes the conference at the RISEBA Architecture and Media Centre H2O 6 Quarters.


The conference aims to bring together distinguished and emerging local scholars and host an international forum to facilitate discussions on current issues in architecture. The conference will cover various topics in architecture with a contemporary edge and from a multidisciplinary perspective. 

We invite you to join us at the event and would like to emphasize that proposals from different parts of the world are welcomed. All submitted abstracts will be selected according to double-blind peer reviews, and accepted submissions will be published in extended abstract form in the conference proceedings book with an ISBN given to you on the conference day. You can submit your full papers for post-conference publication in a special section of RISEBA University’s ADAMarts journal’s 2024 issue.


Astra Zariņa, Architect and Pedagogue:
A Force of Nature


Blind Spot

1.     a point of entry of the optic nerve on the retina insensitive to light

2.     an area where a person's view is obstructed.



to be announced


to be announced

Keynote Speakers

Founder of Steven Holl Architects
Opening Speech of the Exhibition In-Person
& Virtual Closing Speech
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Steven Holl was born in 1947 in Bremerton, WA. He graduated from the University of Washington and pursued architecture studies in Rome in 1970. In 1976, he joined the Architectural Association in London and in 1977 established Steven Holl Architects in New York City. Steven Holl was named by Time Magazine as “America’s Best Architect,” for creating “buildings that satisfy the spirit as well as the eye.”

He has realized cultural, civic, academic and residential projects in the United States and internationally.  He specializes in seamlessly integrating projects into contexts with cultural and historic importance. Steven Holl has been recognized with architecture’s most prestigious awards and prizes, notably the Praemium Imperiale Award for Architecture, the AIA Gold Medal, and the RIBA Jencks Award.  Steven Holl is a tenured Professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture and Planning; he has lectured and exhibited widely as well as published numerous texts.

Founding Partner and Architectural Director of NSW Architectural Office
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Past president of the National Association of Norwegian Architects (NAL).

Member of the National Association of Norwegian Architects, the Royal Institute of British Architects, and Fellow member of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.

Ole Wiig has a broad experience in the fields of architecture, urban design and planning. Responsible for a large number of small and complex buildings, transformation projects as well as interior and jewelry design. Also, restoration work, incl. The Royal Palace and National Parliament in Oslo. He is educated abroad and spent eight years working as an architect in foreign countries.

Ole has led a number of successful architecture competition teams and served on several national and international juries. He is an active writer on architecture and urban issues and has lectured widely at schools of architecture and conferences in several countries. Also, teacher and external examiner at Edinburgh University Scotland, Dublin School of Architecture Ireland, Riseba University Faculty of Architecture Latvia, Liguria International Workshop Italy, Aalborg University Architecture and Design Denmark, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design and Faculty of Landscape Architecture at Norwegian University of Life Science, Ås. Ole is also the village architect in the mediaeval Colletta di Castelbianco, Italy.

President of CIVITA Institute - The Civita Institute - The Northwest Institute for Architecture & Urban Studies in Italy
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Nancy joined the Board of Directors in 2007. In 2014 Nancy led the Civita Institute to become a Provider of the American Institute of Architects Continuing Education System.

She considers the Civita Institute to be an enduring legacy of Astra Zarina (1929-2008), architect and professor emerita of the University of Washington, with whom she studied 'Architecture in Rome',1983-84, and became her teaching assistant in 1984-85. Her Italian studies enriched her Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University in 1988 and inspired her post-graduate Kinney Traveling Fellowship ‘Outside the Walls – Rome’s Modern Quarters’, a video co-created with Stephen Day. Until 2018, Nancy’s career focused on the design, construction, and administration of award-winning public schools in the Pacific Northwest where she also participated in the creation of the Washington Sustainable Schools Protocol. Nancy was president of the Washington Chapter of Council of Educational Facility Planners International (dba A4LE) in 2007-08, and in 1996, president of the Cherokee Owner’s Corporation in Manhattan.

Dr., City Architect of Kuldīga 
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White Paper Topics


Astra Zarina Studies and Studies related by her life-long Work

Design that makes difference


History and Collective Memory




Gender Issues and Insensitivities


Perception and Experience


Pedagogy and Architecture Education


Urbanism, Communities, Roofscapes


Daily Life, Architecture, and Cuisine

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 people
Body, movement and space
Perception, feeling and space
Metaphors, symbols and people
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

Anta Bute

Efe Duyan (Vice-Chair)

Ernst Austriņš

Igors Malovickis

Laura Sevchenko

Rudolf Dainis Smits (Chair)

Zane Veja

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Conf Info

Conference Info



NOVEMBER 10, 2023


DECEMBER 8, 2023


FEBRUARY 2, 2024


APRIL 25, 2024

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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 -REGULAR RATE

In-person or online presentations. 

250 Euro

Participants with Academic Presentation - REDUCED RATE

(Master-PhD Students & Presenters from Latvian Universities)

150 Euro

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

100 Euro


50 Euro

For non-presenter participants and for participating co-authors who will personally attend the conference. You will receive the certificate proving their attendence, conference materials, be able to attend the lunch, reception, and social activities.


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.




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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