2nd Colloquium on AI4AEC
Built to change
Let's reuse buildings not AEC practices

In this 2nd AI4AEC Colloquium we will explore how a range of AI methods can provide the understanding necessary to create and improve models of the physical and temporal interactions across different scales to support AEC professionals in reusing buildings. Our exploration will take place in several online sessions on several dates that focus on building and space reuse and repurposing at the building, urban, land scales. In each session, three invited speakers from different backgrounds will present their perspective on the matter, followed by a discussion. The session will end with a leading expert keynote speaker. Session 1 focused on the building scale and Session 2 on building reuse in urban contexts; Session 3 will focus on building and infrastructure reuse in regional contexts with Stefan Holy, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, being the keynote speaker.


The AEC industry creates the built environment that shapes much of our lives. Surprisingly, the industry uses mostly static and deterministic models to design, build, and operate the built environment even though the built environment and our interactions with it change over time. It has been out of reach to understand the changes of this socio-technical system over time given the physical and temporal scales and the many types of interactions, leaving the industry with static models to envision and create our future. This lack of functional, economic, environmental, and social performance models limits our ability to shape the sustainability of the built environment, especially under the light of circularity.

Building reuse is a key sustainability strategy because it offers the shortest cycle in achieving a circular built environment and avoids longer cycles of material recycling or, even worse, the building ending up in a landfill after it is no longer needed for its initial use. Assessing a building's reusability and envisioning its future requires an understanding of the building's complex physical and temporal scales and internal and external interactions. Creating this understanding is error-prone and time-consuming today. For example, at the building scale, the functional fit between the previous and next use, the structural capacity at the material and system levels, and the ease of adaptation including architectural, mechanical and many other elements have to be considered. At the urban scale, the impact on the socio-economic fabric of the reused building’s neighborhood and the infrastructure necessary to support the new building use are challenges to be addressed.

The 2nd Colloquium on AI4AEC will explore these and other challenges at the building and urban scales from the perspectives of AEC and AI practitioners and researchers.


Session #1: Building Reuse

November 23rd 2021

Session #2: Building Reuse in an Urban Context

January 19th 2022

Session #3: Building & Infrastructure Reuse in Regional Contexts

February 9th 2022

Keynote Speaker

We are excited to have Deputy Prime Minister Stefan Holy as our keynote speaker in the third sesion of the 2nd AI4AEC Colloquium.

Stefan Holy

Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic

Stefan Holy is the Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic.

Session Speakers

Dr. Konrad Schindler

Professor of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, ETH Zurich

Konrad Schindler received his Ph.D. degree from Graz University of Technology, Austria, in 2003. He has been a tenured professor of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing with ETH Zurich since 2010. He was Commission President of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (2012-2016), has served as associate editor or senior program committee member for leading remote sensing journals and computer vision conference, and is a member of the Commission for Remote Sensing at the Swiss Academy of Sciences (scnat), and a founding member of the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligence Systems (ELLIS) and of the ETH AI Center. His research interests lie at the interface of machine learning, computer vision, remote sensing and Earth observation. His passion is harnessing the power of modern, statistically based machine learning to solve real-world mapping problems.

Ben Schwegler

Adjunct Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University

Ben Schwegler is an Adjunct Professor of Engineering at Stanford University, a Senior Research Fellow at Engie, and one of the founders of Synthetic Applied Biology, Inc. For most of his career he was the Chief Scientist at Walt Disney Imagineering where he led much of Disney’s Research and Development group. While he was with Disney he lived for a decade in Shanghai China, as well as in Paris, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. Now he is spending most of his time as a Senior Research Fellow for Engie, formalizing the basis for Integrated Infrastructure Systems at Stanford (and teaching a class about that) and getting his startup off the ground.

Dr. Karen Seto

Professor of Geography and Urbanization Science, School of the Environment, Yale University

Karen Seto is the Frederick C. Hixon Professor of Geography and Urbanization Science at the Yale School of the Environment. An urban and land change scientist, she is one of the world's leading experts on contemporary urbanization and global environmental change. She uses satellite remote sensing, field interviews, and modeling methods to understand how urbanization will affect the planet, including land change, food systems, biodiversity, and climate change. She has extensive fieldwork experience in Asia, especially China and India, where she has conducted research for over 20 and 10 years, respectively. Professor Seto has served on numerous national and international scientific bodies. She is a Coordinating Lead Author for the urban mitigation chapter for the IPCC 6th Assessment Report, currently underway, and co-lead the same chapter for the 2014 IPCC 5th Assessment Report. She has served on many U.S. National Research Council (NRC) Committees, including the NRC Committee to the Advise the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the NRC Committee on Pathways to Urban Sustainability. From 2000 to 2008, she was faculty at Stanford, where she held joint appointments in the Woods Institute for the Environment and the School of Earth Sciences. She has received many awards for her scientific contributions, including the Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America and the Outstanding Contributions to Remote Sensing Research Award from the American Association of Geographers. She is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).


(All times are in PT timezone)

Session #1: Building Reuse

November 23rd 2021

Session #2: Building Reuse in an Urban Context

January 19th 2022

Session #3: Building & Infrastructure Reuse in Regional Contexts

February 9th 2022

07.00 - 07.10 AM : Introduction

Martin Fischer, Professor, CEE, Stanford University
Iro Armeni, Postdoctoral Fellow, ETH Zurich

07.10 - 07.55 AM : Keynote Talk, Legislation enabling the AI use in digital built environment

Stefan Holy, Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic

07.55 - 08.55 AM : Session Presentations

07.55 - 08.15 AM : Design and Operation of Multi-Use Infrastructure
Ben Schwegler, Adjunct Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University

08.15 - 08.35 AM : Global Urbanization Trends and the Imperative for Reuse
Karen Seto, Professor, School of the Environment, Yale University

08.35 - 08.55 AM : Change detection and forecasting - an Earth observation perspective
Konrad Schindler, Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering, ETH Zurich

08.55 - 09.35 AM : Panel Discussion w/ Session speakers

09.35 - 09.45 AM : Reflections

Martin Fischer, Professor, CEE, Stanford University
Iro Armeni, Postdoctoral Fellow, ETH Zurich


The colloquium is free and open to anyone interested in AEC, AI, and their combination.
To attend Session 3, please register at the following link.


Dr. Iro Armeni

Postdoctoral Fellow, CEE and CS, ETH Zurich

Iro Armeni is a PostDoctoral Researcher at ETH Zurich, conducting interdisciplinary research between Civil Engineering and Machine Vision. Her area of focus is on automated semantic and operational understanding of buildings throughout their life cycle using visual data. She completed her PhD at Stanford University on August 2020, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, with a PhD minor at the Computer Science Department. Prior to enrolling in the PhD program, Iro received an MSc in Computer Science (Ionian University-2013), an MEng in Architecture and Digital Design (University of Tokyo-2011), and a Diploma in Architectural Engineering (National Technical University of Athens-2009). She is the recipient of the ETHZ Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Google PhD Fellowship on Machine Perception, and the Japanese Government (MEXT) scholarship. Iro has worked as an architect and consultant for both the private and public sector.

Dr. Martin Fischer

Professor, CEE, Stanford Unversity

Martin Fischer is the Kumagai Professor of Engineering at Stanford University and directs the Center for Integrated Facility Engineering. He is known globally for his work and leadership in developing and applying VDC (Virtual Design and Construction) to increase the productivity of construction project teams, enhance building performance, and create new strategic opportunities for firms in the construction industry. VDC combines a focus on project value with rethinking of workflows supported by digital tools and the timely and productive engagement of the expertise needed to achieve the desired project value. His award-winning research results have been used operationally and strategically by many industrial and government organizations around the world. He has co-authored the book “Integrating Project Delivery” published by Wiley in 2017, written over 100 refereed journal articles and book chapters, and given over 100 keynote lectures on his research. His work has been recognized by the ASCE Peurifoy Construction Research Award and with elections to the National Academy of Construction in the US and the Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences in Sweden.