Keynote speakers

Christian NIELSEN

Christian Nielsen, Ph.d., is Professor at Aalborg University in Denmark and director of research at Business Model Design Center (BMDC). Since the establishment of this highly multidisciplinary research centre in 2011, over 300 companies ranging from local start-ups and SMEs to multinationals with a global presence have seen the value of collaborating with BMDC. This is evidence of the cutting-edge research being produced at BMDC under Christian Nielsen’s leadership, which highlights multidisciplinary contributions that break away from traditional academic silos. The contributions of the rigorous scholarly research have led to published works in leading international
scholarly journals. This reflects the broad international research network of Christian which spans Europe, the US, Australia and Asia.


B.Arch. (2010) and MSc Arch. (2012), both from the University of Valladolid (Spain), where he participated as Construction Manager in the self-sufficient Urcomante Solar House project presented by the University of Valladolid to the Solar Decathlon Europe 2010 competition. Currently, and since 2012, he is working as European Project Coordinator at the Energy Division of CARTIF Technology Centre, and since 2016, as Associate Professor at the University of Valladolid.

His research and teaching fields are in the framework of Smart Cities and Nearly Zero Energy Cities, focusing on energy performance improvement in new buildings and building/district renovation, Building Energy Performance Simulation (BEPS) tools and Building Information Modelling (BIM), addressing the gap of data interoperability. He participated in the coordination teams of the EU-FP7 funded BaaS (Building as a Service Ecosystem, and R2CITIES (Renovation of Residential Urban Spaces: towards nearly zero energy CITIES, projects. Currently he coordinates REMOURBAN (Regeneration Model for accelerating the smart urban transformation,, and OptEEmAL (Optimised Energy Efficient Design Platform for Refurbishment at District Level, EU-H2020 funded projects. He was appointed a Visitor Researcher Fellowship at the School of Architecture, Design and Built Environment at the Nottingham Trent University (2015), and has contributed to various congresses of national and international relevance related to sustainability and energy efficiency in buildings and cities.

He is also member of the Technical Committee for the Spanish Congresses on Nearly Zero Energy Buildings, and has participated as Advisory Member of the FP7 project OPTIMUS (Optimising energy use in cities through Smart Decision support systems).


Rune Nielsen is co-founder and partner of the design practice Kollision. He is an architect and holds a PhD, but refers to himself as an Interaction Designer. He is specialized in interactive exhibitions and media architecture projects that take the form of engaging and experience-oriented large-scale installations. Rune has more than ten years’ experience in designing and leading projects in the field of dynamic lighting design and urban communication, among them the media facade of the Danish pavilion at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai, and the facade of the headquarters of The Confederation of Danish Industry in Copenhagen (2013). A very recent project involves two parallel media facades integrated into the Salling department stores in Aarhus and Aalborg in Denmark (2017).

Rune frequently gives talks about his activities with the Kollision team as well as about the research projects he has been involved in. He has served as an external examiner at a number of universities and at architecture and design schools, and has been a member of The Danish Art Community since 2006.


Anssi Lassila is the founder and principal of OOPEAA Office for Peripheral Architecture. His international breakthrough was the Kärsämäki Shingle Church in 2004 after which he quickly gained a distinctive position among young Finnish architects. His architecture displays an interest in combining a sculptural form with traditional materials and innovative techniques. Lassila has extensive experience in working with wood in architecture. In his approach he emphasizes the potential embedded in exploring new methods and techniques as a means of developing new solutions in building.

OOPEAA works on a wide range of projects on varying scales from churches and daycare centers to housing and town planning as well as extensions to historically valuable landmarks. The office was originally founded in 2001 and it is based in Seinäjoki and Helsinki, Finland, and it currently employs a staff of 15. OOPEAA has been honored with significant awards both in Finland and abroad,including the Finlandia Prize for Architecture in 2015, the Wood Architecture Award in 2015, the Canadian Wood Design and Building Award 2016, and the American Architecture Prize 2016 in two categories. The work of the office has also been selected for the shortlist in the Mies van der Rohe European Prize for Architecture in 2005, 2011 and 2017.

Special event speaker

Helmi Ben Hmida

Dr. Helmi Ben Hmida is an IoT expert & Digital Transformation expert. He is a senior researcher and project manager in the Smart Living competence center in the Fraunhofer Institute Germany and member of several European consortium and alliances in relation with the Internet of Things, especially the European Alliance of IoT Innovation (AIOTI), the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA) and the European innovation partnership on smart cities and communities (EIP-SCC).

He has obtained his master from Rennes University-France in the field of artificial intelligence in 2009. Till end 2012, he has successfully achieved his PhD in cooperation between the Mainz university in Germany and the Burgundy university in France. Since then, he works for Fraunhofer institute as the largest applied research institute in Europe.

Digital Transformation & Internet of things (IoT) are his main filed of expertise. From a policy perspective, he has contributed to the creation of several roadmaps and studies to empower the use of ICT technologies in daily life and quantify the expected impact from social and economic perspectives. From a technological perspective, he has also lead several European and German projects for the innovation and the digitalization of different sectors touching the society, especially Smart Building, Smart City, Mobility, Assisted systems, and Energy economy. His contributions have led to the innovation & the deployment of several smart technologies for more than 6000 users in 9 European countries.