Helen Goodland – Canada

Helen Goodland is a British architect with an MBA from the University of British Columbia in Canada. She is also a policymaker and business strategist, who believes construction is one of the most important solutions for climate change and the urbanization crisis, as well as working with the United Nations Sustainable Building and Climate Initiative’s technical committee that promotes sustainable buildings worldwide, writing manuals leading public policies regarding sustainable materials for constructions, among others. Moreover, she has worked with governments and privates to boost innovation in construction. Also, Goodland advocates for research and development investment and training, in order to transform this industry, putting innovation and sustainability into practice.

Herman Kaufmann – Austria

Hermann Kaufmann is an Austrian architect from the Technical University of Innsbruck and the Technical University of Vienna. He works with wood as a construction material, inspired by his family of carpenters and the legacy of his hometown Vorarlberg, which is known for its timber industry.

His work revolves around the pursue for holistic solutions for sustainable and modern constructions, focusing on energy efficient building and pushing the limits of wood as a construction material. Moreover, he works as a professor of architecture, specialized in wood, at the Technical University of Munich, but has inspired several of his students throughout his career as a professor in varied universities, not only in Austria, but also in countries like Liechtenstein and Slovenia.

Stefan Winter – German

Stefan Winter is a German civil engineer with a PhD in composite steel and concrete structures. He has dedicated his career to teach at prestigious universities and to research about diverse topics on timber construction, such as fire safety, multi-story structures, and sustainable and modern constructions. He has not only been appointed professor of diverse courses on timber construction, but he has also worked at the Aalto University in Helsinki as part of the Finnish Distinguished Professorship program. His career has led him to win several awards, such as the Bayerischer Holzbaupreis and the Best Project Award from ERA-NET, both in 2011. His work is helping to shape the knowledge on wood as a construction material, since his investigation revolves around fire safety, sizing wood capacity in structures and the advantages for sustainable constructions.

Alejandro Aravena – Chile

Alejandro Aravena is a Chilean architect from the Universidad Católica de Chile, who has also used his knowledge and talent throughout his career to answer to the social, humanitarian, and economic needs of people, in a sustainable manner, for which he has been internationally recognized. This keynote speaker was the winner of the “Pritzker Architecture Prize” of 2016, is the current president of the jury for this year’s award, one of the 100 personalities who contributed to the Rio+20 Global Summit on Sustainable Development in 2012, and has also participated as a TEDTalk speaker, sharing his philosophy on the role of architecture.
Aravena has also had a remarkable experience working with timber. He has helped to design and build housing projects using wood as a construction material, where he innovated in the use of the principle of incrementality and priority concentration on the most complex components. Also, he helped reconstruct with timber cultural centers in Chile that were affected by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami of 2010. Furthermore, he has designed educational centers using timber in their structures.

Photo by Rita Aravena