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Integral Design & Research lecture series at IUAV University of Venice

My thanks to professor Mark DeKay for the invitation to participate in this lecture series.

"This series of presentations and discussions will introduce a framework for thinking about design and design research at any scale. It is an approach built on the “integral theory” of the independent philosopher, Ken Wilber and developed for architecture in my book Integral Sustainable Design: transformative perspectives. In our contemporary times, we find ourselves in a messy terrain of competing and partial theories. The integral approach starts with the notion that everyone is partially right and then attempts to examine how, together, mixed approaches from different perspectives help us understand any problem more fully. The collaborative teams represented in this series use the approach because we have found it to be useful in tackling and making sense of the difficult and complex problems facing the design and planning disciplines today. Throughout the series, you will learn about diverse “integrally-informed” applications in sustainable design, watershed planning, architectural photography, design to address climate change, people’s inhabitation of buildings, biophilic design and research project methods." - Mark DeKay


1° March

INTEGRAL DESIGN: Fundamental Distinctions

Mark DeKay

The 1st lecture has been uploaded on youtube and you can view in here:

15 March


Mark DeKay and Astrid Roetzel, Deakin University, Australia

The 2nd lecture has been uploaded on youtube and you can view in here:

29 March

INTEGRAL PERSPECTIVES: Design and Climate Change

Mark DeKay and Susanne Bennett

The 2nd lecture has been uploaded on youtube and you can view in here:

12 April

THE INTEGRAL LENS: Perspectives on Architectural Photography

Mark DeKay and Pygmalion Karatzas, architectural photographer, Patras, Greece

26 April


Mark DeKay and Melanie Watchman, Université Laval, Quebec City, Canada


A convergence of events in my life recently brought up the desire to put together in a timeline my involvement with the Integral Theory and Ken Wilber’s work, to connect some dots I feel, in retrospection, form an upward and outward spiral.

1997 - 2000: As a post grad student in Edinburgh Scotland and after reading ‘The Celestine Prophecy’ by James Redfield, a number of coincidences started to take notice, meeting people who were disciples of the Indian spiritual teacher Osho (Bhaqwan Shri Rajneesh) and started practicing meditation, both his specific meditations and Vipassana.

2000: During the turn of the millennium I visited Osho’s ashram in Pune India for a month, where I participated daily in the ashram’s scheduled meditations, evening discourses and selected psychotherapeutic workshops, like Bert Hellinger’s Systemic Family Constellations, Diamond Breath, and Margot Anand’s Tantric workshop, among others.

2001 - 2006: Returning from the ashram I started participating in a number of holistic / transpersonal psychotherapeutic workshops and meditative retreats:

- Primal Feeling workshop in Greece with Premartha & Svarup, February 2001.

- A. H. Almaas / Faisal Muqaddam’s Diamond Approach, Latifas and Enneagram in Greece with Vedanta and Vihan, October 2001 - February 2002.

- ‘Elixir of Enlightenment’ book by A.H. Almaas, translation in Greek, March 2002.

- Bert Hellinger’s Systemic Family Constellations in Greece with Dimitris Stavropoulos, March 2002 - May 2003.

- An 83-page integrally-informed study on meditation was written, October 2004.

- Dzogchen retreat in Greece with Keith Dowman, May 2005.

At the same time I started studying systematically Ken Wilber’s work as well as Integral Institute’s related authors. In 2003 the website hosted 9 articles of Wilber’s work and summaries of his books I translated into Greek, to become the first online source of Wilber’s works in Greek. We were also in the process of publishing them in the Greek magazine ‘Ododeiktes’ published by Kyveli publisher who had bought the rights of Wilber’s books in Greek, but the unfortunate death of the publisher put that project on hold indefinitely.

2006: An intensive one-month training of trainers ‘Ecovillage Design Education’ at Findhorn Ecovillage in Scotland, organised by the Global Ecovillage Network and endorsed by the United Nation’s Institute for Training & Research, October 2006. Four principal instructors and a number of guest instructors tough us an integrally-informed curriculum on sustainable design and living covering four broad modules: worldview, social, economic and ecology. A 50-page summary was translated in Greek and donated to the EDE faculty as part of the international outreach initiative.

2007 - 2012: The next 6 years saw the peak of my architecture practice interrupted by the financial crisis in Greece, which saw a large percentage of the architecture profession in dire straits and in need to redefine their career in the field. Supporting areas like photorealistic rendering, bio-climatic analysis and parametric design were further explored to arrive at the completed end of the building process - that of architectural photography, both in its commercial and artistic expressions. A self-taught process began with a steep learning curve.

2013 - 2015: The full-time commitment to this professional swift was challenging and uncertain but with carefully planned steps and by reaching each incremental goal, a competitive portfolio and expertise were achieved in order to be able to work nationally and internationally.

2015 - 2016: The Fulbright Artist scholarship required a 5-month long project proposal and the integral framework was selected to base my submitted proposal, titled ‘Integral Lens'. An AQAL approach to photography had been thus far outlined and the Fulbright scholarship game me the opportunity to produce both a personal integral photographic project across United States and co-author with professor Mark DeKay an academic paper further studying and exploring an integral approach to architectural photography.

2016 - present: With resolve but also through hardships and limitations of my own making, the Integral Lens persevered and flourished, giving me a new-found wholeness, a longed-for fulfilment, and a steadfast path to proceed. Proud moments of this period have been highlighted in the Integral Lens timeline:

Looking back at my yesteryears, they include the experiential, inner and personal integral transformative practices, the framework’s real-world applications in one of the most pressing global issues of our times, that of sustainability from a comprehensive perspective, and building a practice that combines my professional background in architecture with a new-found vocation in photography. An intangible thread connecting all my adult life, weaving an integral tapestry of my innermost and outermost being-in-the-making.


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