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International Council

Spring 2017: Copenhagen, Denmark
Fall 2016: Munich, Germany
Photo: Volker Rebhan
Photo: Volker Rebhan
Photo: Volker Rebhan
Photo: Diego Berruecos
Photo: Diego Berruecos
Photo: Diego Berruecos
Photo: Diego Berruecos
Photo: Andrew Bruah and AIC Architecture & Design Society
Photo: Andrew Bruah and AIC Architecture & Design Society
Photo: Andrew Bruah and AIC Architecture & Design Society
Spring 2015 meeting in Marseille. Photo: Joël Assuied
Photo: Joël Assuied
Photo: Joël Assuied
Photo: Joël Assuied
Photo: Joël Assuied
Photo: Joël Assuied
Spring 2014 meeting in Venice, Workshop on Certosa Island. Photo: Beppe Ferrari
Executive Director David van der Leer and International Council Chair Kai-Uwe Bergmann. Photo: Beppe Ferrari
Fall 2014 meeting, Workshop at Van Alen Institute
Photo by Cameron Blaylock

The International Council is a platform for exchange among leading architects, designers, developers, and planners, representing practices across more than 26 cities and 15 countries. Members meet twice annually to identify and investigate issues facing cities around the world, and to guide the impact of the Institute’s public programming, research, and design competitions. Council members also convene with local policymakers, developers, researchers, and designers, identifying topics with the potential for deeper exploration with Van Alen’s international audience.

The Council is led by Alfredo Carabello and Daniel Elsea of Allies and Morrison, and Carl Backstrand and Monica von Schmalensee of White. The next International Council meeting will be held May 15-17 in London.

For more information, please contact Stacey Anderson, Associate Director of Business Development and Special Initiatives at, or 212-924-7000.


Fall 2018: Mumbai, India 

November 11-16, 2018

Meeting Highlights:

Case Study 1 – Public Space – Bombay/Mumbai

  • Exploration and heritage tour of the Ballard Estate district by bus and by foot
  • Visit to Somaya and Kalappa Consultants with founder Brinda Somaya.

Case Study 2 – Social Connectivity – North-east Mumbai – Mankhurd

  • Exploration of the two neighborhoods by foot, led by the artist collective Samooha
  • Visit to Studio Mumbai with founder Bijoy Jain
  • Studio visit with artist Sunil Padwal in Central Mumbai for Ideas Exchange Session led by architect Rajeev Thakker and discussion led by Himanshu Burte, Assistant Professor, School of Habitat Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

Case Study 3 – Rethinking Transport Infrastructure for an Exploding Metropolis – Bandra Kurla Complex and Western Suburbs

  • Meet with Studio POD and MMRDA transport officials in Bandra Bandra Skywalk, train and metro rides from Bandra to Andheri and DN Nagar (Versova)
  • Visit to School of Environment and Architecture (SEA) in Borivali Paranchpe Nagar, Borivali West, Mumbai
  • Charrette Part I: Meet with faculty and students for discussions led by Neera Adarkar, senior researcher and co-founder of SEA.

Western Coastline Walk & Design Charrette – Bandra

  • Final presentations at the Pioneer Bungalow with eminent local guests



      • Daniel Elsea, Allies and Morrison (Council Co-Chair)
      • Alfredo Caraballo, Allies and Morrison (Council Co-Chair)
      • Monica von Schmalensee, White (Council Co-Chair)
      • Sasa Radulovic, 5468796 Architecture
      • Johanna Hurme, 5468796 Architecture
      • Denzil Gallagher, BuroHappold
      • Anindita Dasgupta, BuroHappold
      • Steen S. Trojaborg, DISSING + WEITLING
      • Razvan Ghilic-Micu, Hassell
      • Michael Sørensen, Henning Larsen
      • Armand Paardekooper, Mecanoo
      • Carmen Pereira, Mecanoo
      • Tom Kundig, Olson Kundig
      • Alan Maskin, Olson Kundig
      • Morten Schmidt, Schmidt/Hammer/Lassen
      • Mette Nygaard, Schmidt/Hammer/Lassen
      • Pat Arnett, Silman
      • Nancy Hudson, Silman
      • Jonas Edblad, Wingardhs
      • Niklas Carlen, Wingardhs
      • Jessica Healy, (Van Alen Board of Directors)
      • Douglas Healy

Spring 2018: Rotterdam, Netherlands

May 17-19, 2018

Meeting Highlights:

  • Exploration at Didden Village by MVRDV.
  • Tour of Van Nelle Factory led by UrbanGuides
  • Presentations at RAAF Rotterdam in Maashaven
  • Tour of Rotterdam’s South Bank by bike, including Feyenoord City, ‘t Gemaal, Pretorialaan, and Gallery NIFFO
  • Presentation about the communal role of the “Verhalenhuis” (House of Stories) at Verhalenhuis Belvedere, Rechthuislaan.
  • Mini ‘impression’ tour through KatendrechtPublic program + panel discussion co-presented with AIR Rotterdam
  • CROSS/TALK: Designing Points of Convergence in South Rotterdam Design Charrette
  • Dinner in the home of Francine Houben, Mecanoo
  • Drinks aboard SS Rotterdam and Rooftop Terrace of Eric Dullaert


      • Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Partner, Bjarke Ingels Group
      • Kim Herforth Nielsen, Founder, 3XN
      • Sasa Radulovic, 5468796 Architecture
      • Alfredo Caraballo, Allies and Morrison
      • Daniel Elsea, Allies and Morrison
      • Raymond Quinn, Arup (Van Alen Board Treasurer)
      • Robin Ried, Bloomberg Associates (Van Alen VANguard Board Member)
      • Denzil Gallagher, BuroHappold
      • Neil Billett, BuroHappold
      • Steen S. Trojaborg, DISSING + WEITLING
      • Susanna Sirefman, Dovetail Design Strategists
      • Francine Houben, Mecanoo
      • Friso van der Steen, Mecanoo
      • Connie Enghus Theisen, ROCKWOOL
      • Susanne Dyrbøl, ROCKWOOL
      • Connie Enghus, ROCKWOOL Group
      • Jeroen Ebus, Lapinus
      • Daan de Kupper, Lapinus
      • John Relou, Rockpanel
      • Morten Schmidt, Schmidt Hammer Lassen
      • Scott Hughes, Silman
      • Pat Arnett, Silman
      • Daniel Maldonado, Skanska
      • Larry Casey, Skanska
      • Jan Bunge, Squint Opera
      • Nick Taylor, Squint Opera
      • Benjamin Saxe, Studio Saxe
      • Erika Escalante, Studio Saxe
      • Murat Tabanlioglu, Tabanlioglu Architects
      • Carolina Bueno, Triptyque
      • Monica von Schmalensee, White
      • Carl Backstrand, White
      • Jonas Edblad, Wingardhs
      • Niklas Carsen, Wingardhs
      • David van der Leer, Van Alen Institute

Fall 2017: São Paulo 

October 1-4, 2017

Meeting Highlights:

  • Tours: Exterior walking tours of Centro led by; Tour of Cidade Matarazzo, SESC Pompeia, Isay Weinfeld’s studio and Oito Building, and Casa de Vidro.
  • Concrete & Conjured: Lessons on Density in São Paulo: a panel discussion co-hosted by Van Alen Institute and INSTITUTO BARDI / CASA DE VIDRO 
  • Cocktails with Triptyque Studio
  • Urban Apertures: A Design Charrette on Density and Civic Space co-hosted with Red Bull Station. For this charrette, International Council members convened with civic leaders and local design professionals to create, sketch, and convey new design ideas that examined the consequences of density on everyday wellbeing.


Spring 2017: Copenhagen

May 4-7, 2017

Meeting Highlights:

  • Tours: Exterior walking tours of the Orestad region of Copenhagen led by SCALE Denmark; Tour of BLOX, the forthcoming Danish Architecture Centre hub; Bicycle and boat tour of Copenhagen harbor and Paper Island.
  • Drawing Intersections: Visions for Density in Architecturea panel discussion on the future of density in Copenhagen and around the world hosted by the International Council, the Danish Architecture Centre, and the Copenhagen Architecture Festival.
  • Studio visits with Bjarke Ingels Group and 3XN.
  • Converging Grounds: A Design Charrette on Density in Denmark co-hosted by Realdania. For this 1.5 day charrette, International Council members convened with civic leaders and local design professionals to create, sketch, and convey new design ideas that could alleviate or facilitate density in local parks, transportation, housing, streetscapes, and cultural centers. Each team generated visual and written statements depicting and describing their design solutions, which will be consolidated into a report to be published in summer 2017.

The Van Alen International Council trip to Copenhagen was made possible by the generous support of presenting sponsor ROCKWOOL


Fall 2016: Munich 

October 3-5

Meeting Highlights:

  • Tours: Exterior walking tour of Munich’s historic district that included a behind-the-scenes visit to Hofstattl; Skytop views at the Churchtower of Old Peter; Bus tour of the Munich Arts District; Insider tour of the Werksviertel and Genterstrasse projects with steidle architekten;  Tour of Atelier Rosa; Walk through Allianz Arena with a visit to the Godelmann Loge; Tour of the Olympic village, stadium, and student housing; Tour of Domagkpark social housing project; And a visit to the BMW welt, factory, museum, and headquarters. The tour in Munich was co-organized by Guiding Architects Munich, and sponsored by Martin Schnitzer of Schitzer& | A Graphisoft Company.
  • Quality & Density: Urban and Open Space in Housing Projects public program at EXPO REAL presented with the City of Munich
  • Private dinner and celebration on the final evening of Oktoberfest sponsored by Occhio.
  • Complimentary access to the exhibition The World of Malls: Architecture of Consumption exhibition at Pinakothek.
  • Closed-door workshop on housing and social inclusion with local participants: Nicola Borgmann, Architekturgalerie Munchen; Steffen Kercher, City of Munich; Prof. Ruth Berktold, Yes Architecture; Dr. Agnes Forster, Studio Stadt Region; Jan Bunge, Squint/Opera; Oliver Heiss, Architect; Rainer Hoffman, bogevischs buero; Florian Lichtblau, Lichtblau Architekten; Dr. Matthias Ottman, Urban Progress; Andrea Gebhard, mahl.gebhard.konzepte; Johannes Ernst, steidle architekten; Lukas Feiress, Studio Lukas Feiress; Matthias Schmidt, CA IMMO; and Martin Schnitzer, Schitzer&.
  • Program co-coordinated with the extraordinary help of Nicola Borgmann of Architekturgalerie Muenchen.



Spring 2016: Mexico City

March 5 – 8

Meeting Highlights:

  • Tours: Boats through Xochimilco, the “Venice of Mexico City,” visits to the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera home and studio, Kahlo’s childhood home, the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, La Merced, Alberto Kalach’s studio and office tower, and the Kurimanzutto Gallery. The group also privately toured Museo Tamayo and Museo Soumaya.
  • Inhabiting the City: Global Communities and Urban Space: bilingual public program in collaboration with the international architecture and design festival MEXTROPOLI.
  • Private dinner at Rojkind Arquitectos-designed Mercado Roma
  • Impacts closed-door session with local thinkers: Axel Arano, Historian; Gabriella Gomez-Mont and Maria Garcia Holley of Laboratoria para la Ciudad;  Jose Castillo of Arq 911; Mauricio Rocha, Architect; Javier Toscano and Ana Luisa Lacorte of the Nerivela Collective.


Fall 2015: Chicago

September 30 – October 2

Meeting Highlights:

  • Tours: An architectural river cruise downtown led by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, an insider walk through the IIT campus, and a peek at Rebuild Foundation’s Stony Island Arts Bank with Theaster Gates.
  • International Perspectives on Chicago and the Future of Urban Change: public program in collaboration with the Architecture & Design Society of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Chicago Architecture Biennial in which each of the Council firms was represented alongside a group of vibrant, local speakers.
  • Private dinner at Publican Quality Meats
  • Preview access to the press cocktail and opening of the Chicago Architecture Biennial
  • Discussion on architecture and equity with Chicago city officials MarySue Barrett, president, Metro Planning Council; Felicia Davis, executive director, Public Building Commission; Art del Muro, managing architect, Public Building Commission; Brad McConnell, deputy commissioner for planning and operations, Department of Development and Planning; Fernando Espinoza, Project Manager, City of Chicago; and architects Ross Barney, architectural designer and Eric Martin, principal, Ross Barney Architects.


Spring 2015: Marseilles & Cannes

March 7 – 9

Meeting Highlights:

  • A tour with urban planner Nicolas Memain of the northern suburbs of Marseille, including La Visitation, la Cité des Arts de la Rue, and Belvedère de Hanoi
  • Discussion at Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations (MUCEM) with Jean-Luc Perez, Lead Architect for Atelier Prado; Nicolas Memain, Marseille urban planner and self-proclaimed “street jockey”; and Michel Samson, former journalist for Le Monde and acclaimed sociologist, followed by a museum tour with Sylvia Amar, Head of their Department of Cultural Production
  • Tour of Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse
  • Several attendees continued the conversation in the following days at MIPIM in Cannes, where Executive Director David van der Leer led talks with Council members exploring such questions as: What are the biggest design challenges of the future? How to select the right architect for your job?


Fall 2014: New York City

November 20 – 21

Meeting Highlights:

  • Led by New York architects, developers, and city officials, the Council toured some of New York’s most exciting new projects, including the newest addition to the High Line, Hudson Yards, Building 92 at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Brooklyn Bridge Park
  • Roundtable on “Place, Placement, Displacement, and Replacement” at our recently completed street-level space
  • Tour of the recently completed Fulton Center with Grimshaw Architects
  • Cocktails hosted by Denmark Ambassador, Consul General Jarl Frijs-Madsen at his penthouse in the Frank Gehry-designed tower, 8 Spruce Street
  • Discussions on housing and infrastructure with developers, city officials, and journalists, including Jared Della Valle, Alloy Development;  Rob Lane, Regional Plan Association; Bill Menking, The Architect’s Newspaper; Pam Samuels, Related Companies; and Jeff Shumaker, NYC Department of City Planning


Spring 2014: Venice

June 4 – 5

Meeting Highlights:

  • Tour of the pavilions at the Venice Architecture Biennale
  • Cocktail party at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection for the opening of the American pavilion exhibition, OFFICEUS
  • Workshop on Certosa Island on the theme of productivity, exploring such questions as: What are alternative measures of productivity? How can we create more productive urban landscapes? What role can infrastructure play to boost productivity?
  • Dessert and drinks aboard a boat traversing the Venice Lagoon