Aletheia Ida, PhD, NCARB, LEED AP

Aletheia Ida, PhD, NCARB, LEED AP

Associate Professor, Architecture
Headshot of SXSW Speaker Aletheia Ida


Naturally Adaptive Building Tech

Friday, March 11, 11 a.m.
Rooftop Stage

ALETHEIA'S TALK: Naturally Adaptive Building Tech

Future building technologies can be based on the fundamental mechanisms of the natural ecology – specifically, nature’s ability to adapt to change – from a single day to millennia. The Sonoran Desert, which Aletheia calls home, provides a unique natural laboratory to observe and learn from interrelationships between climate, plants, soils, and their biological and physiological mechanisms. We can reconsider the human-built environment in a sustainable way. Prototypes of these conditioning systems and their infrastructure show how we might use intelligent and adaptive mechanisms to elicit human senses through symbiosis with light, air, heat, sound, and touch over space and time.


Aletheia is an architect and associate professor at the University of Arizona developing interdisciplinary design theory for robust frameworks to inform applied research in environmental building technologies. She is the Director of RESTRUCT, a pan-university strategic initiative fostering interdisciplinary research on the built environment, co-Director of the Adaptive Environmental Design Lab, a 2021 Biosphere2 Faculty Innovation Teaching Fellow, and Chair of UArizona's Master of Science in Architecture program.

Dr. Ida is also a co-Founder of Analemma, a design studio collaboration with artist and musician John Malmborg and co-creator of SHAPE, which is premiering at the UArizona WONDER HOUSE at SXSW 2022. Aletheia is the recipient of an international 2020 Holcim Award for sustainable building technology design and the 2018 AIA Arizona Research Design Award for her pioneering work on Symbiotic Matter: A Research and Design Framework for Emerging Building Technologies.

With over twenty years of experience in professional architecture practice and fluency with building performance analytics, she develops contextual applications for solar, water, and metabolic systems through parallel explorations of socio-environmental criteria, material inventions, and innovative digital and physical design methods. Her design and research is published with Metropolis “Source Materials,” ACADIA, World Sustainable Built Environments, Materials Research Society “Programmable Matter,” Cambridge University Press MRS Advances, Society for Optics and Photonics, ACSA-AIA Intersections, IGI Global Press “Energetic Forms of Matter,” AIA BRIK Knowledgebase, PLEA, Arquitectura Ciudad y Region, Simulation in Architecture and Design (SimAUD), Advanced Building Skins (ABS), Building Technology Educators’ Society (BTES), Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC), and others.

She has recently lectured at Yale University, Princeton’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, and the Center for Ecosystems and Architecture at the New Lab in Brooklyn. Her research is recognized through the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and funded by the National Science Foundation, Salt River Project, Tucson Water, Google, and Microsoft.