New Challenges and Agendas for Design: Collaboration and Multidisciplinarity as Mandatory in Extreme Social Scenarios


The world has seen an increase in extreme natural phenomena. Although such situations often occur in the world and the history of humanity, some scientists believe that critical situations result from recent past decisions and behaviours. Examples are extreme thermal amplitude, fires, earthquakes, or volcanic activity. This reality is intensified by the characteristics of the different geographies of our planet, with incalculable social and human consequences, such as in Turkey. The SHELTER project results from the perception of the relevance of this subject and from an effort to contribute, through the design of a seismic shelter, to lessen the impact and consequences of a disaster such as a large-scale earthquake. Considering the project’s complexity, a multidisciplinary team of designers and civil and mechanical engineers was created, among others, in a collaborative exercise between companies, universities and Portuguese laboratories. Issues related to preserving human life during the possible collapse of the building and survival in the post-collapse period were under attention. In terms of specific design tasks, the emphasis was on the study of conditions to ensure the survival of occupants during the collapse of the building and on the support for the psychological well-being and comfort of occupants after the collapse. These tasks were developed through a user-centred design approach, using 3D, digital and analogue modelling technologies. In its general design and structural quality, the project’s quality was validated through numerical simulations and experimental tests with crash test dummies, demonstrating the successful response to this design challenge.


Ana Margarida Ferreira
Assistant Professor with Habilitation in Design, Arts - Design, LabCom and Universidade da Beira Interior, Castelo Branco, Portugal

Eduardo Gonçalves
Assistant Professor and Researcher, Unidade de Investigação em Design e Comunicação (UNIDCOM/IADE), IADE, Faculdade de Design, Tecnologia e Comunicação - Universidade Europeia, Lisboa, Portugal

Emilia Duarte
Full professor, IADE – Universidade Europeia, Portugal

Vasco Santos
Professor, Design / 3DLAB, Universidade Europeia - IADE, Lisboa, Portugal

Diamantino Abreu
Professor, 3DLab, Iade - Universidade Europeia, Ad Dawhah, Portugal

João Gomes Ferreira
Full Professor, Civil Engineering and Architecture, CERIS, IST, University of Lisbon, Portugal


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Designed Objects


Design, Engineering, Shelter, Earthquake Risk, Survival, Collaboration, Multidisciplinarity

Digital Media


New Challenges and Agendas for Design (pdf)