Call for papers

'Enabling health, care and well-being through design research' is the title of ARCH21 – the 5th Architecture Research Care and Health conference – organised at the Education Centre of Erasmus MC in Rotterdam – the Netherlands – 23rd until 25th of August 2021.

ARCH21 connects researchers and practitioners around the conference theme, and also wants to attract those interested in the new Erasmus MC hospital environment and evaluation studies carried out regarding this project.


Due to current COVID-19 travel-restrictions you might hesitate to enter an abstract for ARCH21, to be presented in the Netherlands in August 2021. We would like you to know that we as ARCH21 Organizing Committee are currently already thinking through alternative scenarios to a fully live event. We will keep you updated on any developments and look forward to receiving your proposals to participate in this conference.


Based on the conference theme we identified three guiding topics:

Topic 1: health promotion in society

How reshaping unhealthy environments can support the needed change in human behaviour

Health promotion in society is essentially about changing human behaviours. Reshaping unhealthy environments is an important approach and may be more effective in achieving healthy behaviours than using health messages alone. This relates for instance to healthy cities, healthy working environments or healthy buildings. The topic opens up for different perspectives, such as what architectural and urban design strongly encourage healthy behaviours; how to involve and communicate with (end)users about redesigning their living environments, or how to design for social distancing in public and semi-public places.

Topic 2: the core-hospital as central node in digital health and care

What major changes do we expect to see in Evidence-Based Design, e.g. in the context of the current COVID-19 crisis.

This topic can be seen in the context of the current Covid-19 situation that initiates many breakthroughs in the use of digital technology and E-health, for example safe triage and digital consultations for regular patients during virus outbreaks. What major changes in the built environment do we expect to see in the nearby future, as a result of these innovations in digital health and care? In addition, this topic includes broader healthcare architecture design research and Evidence-Based Design on how the design of healthcare facilities can support the safety and well-being of patients and the efficiency and effectiveness of staff.

Topic 3: inclusive healthcare and home environments

In a world of vulnerable people and people with care demands,  how can care and housing be integrated.

In communities, inclusive healthcare calls for environments to be responsive to the needs of vulnerable people, and people with care demands. Questions like ‘how to combine care with a social living environment’ and ‘how to grow old in an appropriate home and neighbourhood’ will be discussed. Concepts for an inclusive living environment with a more informal support system, such as Universal Design, require architectural solutions that foster the involvement of care networks. At this moment, housing designs and home environments are often not tailored to these needs. We are particularly interested in research about design approaches that give an answer to the discussion of the integration of care and housing.

Research workshop

In conjunction with the conference there will be a workshop on research within the scope of the conference. Often research is also characterized by the theories and methods applied within the area. The areas of healthcare and environment is however broad and diverse, which is reflected in the theories and methods used. Healthcare as activity is not one and nor are the types of environments used. The disciplines and types of researchers interested in the area are also manifold. So, with this broad approach how do we build a knowledge base and develop theories and methods specific to healthcare design and environments? What does the term architecture mean in this context? If the conference outset are studies of design processes and effects of designed environments, built environment predominantly, how do we develop theories and methods specific to this area. Is it needed or is a mixed approach the most relevant for the complexity of the reality we study?

Therefore, we would like to invite you to react to our call for original research papers and ask you to submit your abstract before the 15 October 2020 (extended from 1 October 2020).

We look forward to welcome you to Rotterdam in August 2021!


TU Delft Department of Architecture and the Built Environment – Clarine van Oel, Birgit Jürgenhake

Erasmus University Medical Centre Rotterdam (Erasmus MC) – Liesbeth van Heel

Wiegerinck – Milee Herweijer

Gortemaker Algra Feenstra architects – Femke Feenstra

AM_A Andrea Möhn architects – Andrea Möhn

In collaboration with

EGM architects – Willemineke Hammer

NTNU Department for Architecture and Planning – Johan van der Zwart

Chalmers Department for Architecture and Civil Engineering – Göran Lindahl