BK Talks: Raising awareness. Dissecting diversity in design

24 June 2021 18:00 till 20:00 - Location: Online - By: Communication BK | Add to my calendar

We may all look different, but why are most of our experiences or journeys into the design world so similar? Is design becoming or championing an exclusive environment? How does diversity play a role in this?

The aim of this BK Talks event is to assess our current position in design and explore future projections of how designers can tackle diversity within the design of the built environment. 
We will explore the implicit biases built into our creative world that could easily result in a diminished opportunity to design a truly representational environment. Instead of looking at far removed statistics, we will present issues concerning privilege, sexuality and race around us. We will draw parallels on the issues regarding the homogenisation of design education and consequently later in practice. 

This talk, moderated by Tomi Akinyemi and Katherina Bruh, offers us the opportunity to take stock of our education’s current state and explore the impact this has on the future of the student body.


Tomi Akinyemi is a second year MSc Architecture student at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. She began her master’s program at TU Delft in 2019 having completed a two-year period of practice experience in London (UK) at PDP | LDN Architects. To obtain a clearer understanding of the components required for building, Tomi has also gained work experience in the construction industry in Michigan (USA), working with civil engineering corporations such as HNTB and URS. In addition to its technicalities, Tomi’s interest in architecture is rooted in the effect the built environment has on people’s daily lives. Her choice in the Urban Architecture Graduation Studio allows her to explore design that responds to both the human scale and urban needs within a city. In addition to her academic interests, Tomi is also the President of TUDASA 20/21, (TU Delft’s African Students Association) an association that represents and assists students of African heritage at university.

Katherina Bruh is a second year MSc Architecture student at BK. Prior to the Netherlands, she acquired her bachelors at the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK and worked for two years at Grimshaw and Partnersspecializing in designing for the public realm and infrastructure.


Nyasha Harper-Michon is a creative and strategic thinker who thrives at the intersection of design, business, sustainability and technology. She calls herself an 'Archtivist' -  a term she coined for architects driving economic, environmental ands ocial reform to foster positive changes in society and within the profession. Nyasha currently works as an Architect and Business Developer at RAU Architects, an Amsterdam-based architecture firm specialised in circular economy design and construction methods. She writes a column for A.Zine online magazine, is a guest lecturer at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture and is a member of the jury for the Rotterdam Architecture Prize 2021.
Passionate about supporting the health and well-being of people, place and planet, Nyasha is involved in various projects from the future of cities and technology to fostering diversity and inclusion within the architecture field. 


Lyongo Juliana, architect and director of OZ Caribbean. He fell in love with architecture when he was a student in Architectural Engineering at TU/Eindhoven. For Lyongo, architecture is not just about making locations more beautiful and in balance, it is about creating a people’s experience. The Caribbean region has been Lyongo’s work field for the past 25 years where among others he worked on the Curacao Medical Center, Social Housing in Montana Abou and Sister Marie Laurence School in St. Maarten. His work in the Netherlands focusses on a more diverse and inclusive urban design and architecture. He researched this theme in 2020 as an Architect in Residence at ARCAM (Architectuur Centrum Amsterdam) and proceeded with this research in 2021 as a fellow at Pakhuis de Zwijger in the program Designing Cities For All. In recent projects, like the Shopperhal in AmsterdamZuidoost, he is putting is research findings into practice.

Roberto Rocco is an associate professor of spatial planning & strategy at TU Delft, working and researching metropolitan and regional governance, social sustainability and spatial justice. He obtained his PhD at TU Delft in 2008. He is responsible for course development and coordination in the areas of research methodology and design practice, regional planning and design, governance and sustainability. He leads the TU Delft Summer School Planning and Design with Water, in which a large group of international students explores how to make cities simultaneously more just and more resilient to climate change through water sensitive urban planning and design. He is also a consultant for the Union for the Mediterranean, for whom he has written the UfM Strategic Action Plan for Sustainable Urbanisation and the UfM Housing Action Plan, together with Carola Hein and Remon Rooij. Additionally, he studies informal urbanisation in the Global South, connected to rapid urbanisation in weak institutional environmentsand leads several initiatives connected to sustainable urban development in the Global South.

Federico RuĂ­z Carvajal is a second year Urbanism student at BK and editor in Bnieuws, the independent periodical of the faculty.

Francine Houben (the Netherlands, 1955) is Founding Partner and Creative Director of Mecanoo. Her work ranges from theatres, museums and libraries to neighbourhoods, housing and parks. Each design is founded on the observations of people, location, culture and climate. This analysis amounts to designs that respond to current needs yet are also prepared for (un)predictable change.

With her practice, she has gained international acclaim. She holds Honorary Fellowships of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC). Francine was granted lifelong membership to the Akademie der KĂĽnste in Berlin and received the International Honorary Fellow Award by the Architecture Institute of Taiwan.

Selected works include Delft University of Technology Library, Delft (1998), La Llotja Theatre and Congress Centre, Lleida, Spain (2008), Library of Birmingham, United Kingdom (2013), National Kaohsiung Centre for the Arts, Taiwan (2018) and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, United States (2020). New York Public Library’s former Mid-Manhattan Library reopened June 1, 2021 as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library, while renovations continue at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building officially completing the Midtown Campus masterplan.

Practical information

This BK Talks will be streamed live from the Oostserre and can be followed via this link