AERIAL FUTURES: The Third Dimension

April 25 | 6:00 pm | Harvard Graduate School of Design

Event Details


Piper Auditorium | Harvard GSD
48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 United States


April 25, 2019 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm America/New York (UTC-05:00)



Event Photos


swissnex Boston and AERIAL FUTURES are partnering to look forward towards the future of Urban Air Mobility (UAM). Thanks to the support of Swiss Touch, we will bring to Boston the next event in our Aerial Futures: The Drone Frontier series – AERIAL FUTURES: The Third Dimension.

A public event at Harvard GSD examines the lower sky as a site of mobility

Increasing congestion and advances in autonomous technology are set to transform how we move around our cities. Many are now looking to the sky — the third dimension — as an expansive space for new kinds of mobility. Autonomous flying vehicles, such as cargo drones and flying taxis, have the capacity to disrupt how we move goods and passengers around urban space. Responding to these real-world changes, AERIAL FUTURES: The Third Dimension examines Urban Air Mobility (UAM), asking how scalable and on- demand UAM models could reduce road traffic, pollution, accidents and the strain on existing public transport networks. Within these opportunities are also challenges to overcome: noise, community acceptance, safety, cyber security and seamless integration with existing aircraft operations.

Boston and Switzerland have long understood the importance of connectivity and mobility. As world centers for tech research and design excellence, both locations are at the vanguard of urban mobility design. The presentations and panel will discuss Design Interfaces, the UAM Marketplace and Regulatory Frameworks.

About the Organizers

swissnex Boston, with offices in Cambridge, MA and New York City, creates meaningful cross-disciplinary connections in education, research, innovation, and in the arts between Switzerland and North America. Our mission is to support the outreach and active engagement of our partners in the global exchange of knowledge, ideas and talent.

AERIAL FUTURES is a non-profit organization exploring innovation in the architecture of flight, technology, and the broader urban mobility ecosystem. They curate and provokes timely considerations of our aerial age, and imagine its emerging futures in a connected, multimodal world.

Swiss Touch is an event series and social media campaign pushing Swiss innovation and creative ideas forward, through the participation of prominent Swiss and American stakeholders, a selection of compelling topics and unusual locations. Follow their journey throughout the US at


6:00 pm Doors open

6:30 pm Program starts

8:00 pm Doors close


Olivier de Weck

Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems, MIT

In his research, Olivier de Weck focuses on the evolution and design properties of a wide range of complex man-made systems, such as air- and spacecraft, automobiles, and critical infrastructures. De Weck is a former Swiss Air Force officer and holds degrees from both ETH Zurich (1993) and MIT (2001). From 1993 to 1997, he was liaison engineer and later engineer program manager at McDonnell Douglas’ F/A-18 aircraft program. The last two years, he held the role of Senior Vice President for Technology Planning and Roadmapping at Airbus.

Jaron Lubin

Design Principal, Safdie Architects

Jaron Lubin’s extensive body of work includes a portfolio of architectural design proposals, competition entries and projects in a broad variety of geographical contexts, scales and programs. Among many other well-renowned projects, Lubin functioned as the Project Architect in the iconic Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort and Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore. He joined Safdie Architects in 2004 and was named a Principal in 2012. Lubin studied Architecture at the University of Michigan and obtained his Master’s Degree at UCLA.

Vassilis Agouridas

Senior Manager, Strategic Innovation, Airbus (Helicopters)

As a member of the Strategy, Company Development and Business Ambition Directorate at Airbus, Vassilis Agouridas is working on growth strategy and new business ecosystems assignments. In the context of ever-growing urbanization and widespread diffusion of digital business enablers, he has been developing expertise in nurturing systemic mobility solutions featuring the 3rd dimension. Vassilis is the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Initiative Leader, on behalf of Airbus, within the Sustainable Urban Mobility Action Cluster, launched in October 2017 by the European Commission.

Lorenzo Murzilli

Manager, Innovation and Advanced Technologies, Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA)

Lorenzo Murzilli is an aerospace engineer, innovation manager and specialist in aviation, system safety and drones. As the leader of the Joint Authorities for Rulemaking on Unmanned Systems WG-6 and Deputy Chair of the Swiss FOCA RPAS Working Group, he oversees the policies and risk management processes for all critical drones’ operations in Switzerland and works to improve the perception of unmanned aerial vehicles worldwide. As a guest lecturer at the Zürich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW) Lorenzo has developed a striking ability to boost innovation in safety-critical environments and enjoys exploring the intersection of safety and disruptive technologies that can advance the human race forward.



Sonja Dümpelmann

Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD)

Sonja Dümpelmann is Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) where she teaches history and theory courses. She was previously an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland (2007-2012), and Auburn University (2005-2007) where she taught design studios and history and theory classes. She holds a Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture from the University of the Arts, Berlin, and an MLA from Leibniz Universität Hannover. Dümpelmann has curated exhibitions on landscape history in Germany and has worked as a landscape designer in Studio Paolo Bürgi, Switzerland. She has held research fellowships at the German Historical Institute, and at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC.