WAN turns 7 at WAD

Tuesday 02 Oct 2012

'Anyone who wasn't here missed out...'

These are the words from Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Partner at Bjarke Ingels Group in Copenhagen and New York and panel member for our Residential Sector discussion during the drinks reception at Central Saint Martins yesterday.

This year, on our seventh birthday, WAN took control of World Architecture Day, bringing together an outstanding ‘charette’ of architects and developers (Mark Swetman’s term!) to celebrate the power of effective architecture.

On Monday morning, World Architecture News in association with Hines, opened the doors of Cannon Place in London to several hundred architects, developers and city planners who had travelled from around the world, as far as Australia and the United States to hear our expert panel of speakers.

Opening the programme was Peter Murray, a highly respected figure in London architecture, who gave our avid attendees a brief speech on the importance of the architect in the field of city design and outlined the day under the heading 'Better cities, better lives'.

Next to the podium was Mark Swetman representing developers Hines whose Cannon Place building (designed by Foggo Associates) played host to today's event. Swetman was quick to stress the importance of the architect and the mutually beneficial relationship between architects and developers, admitting 'working with architects is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job'. Sending ripples around the room, he concluded 'What do we want from architects? Quality design that will stand the test of time’.

After a short (and very entertaining) introduction from Peter Wynne Rees, London City Planning Officer, our panelists took to the stage. For full reports on each of the six key sector discussions, please see below:

Civic Buildings
Urban Regeneration

The core of the day was to pinpoint the key challenges facing the six sectors on a global level and discuss potential solutions through the medium of architecture. Our experienced panellists identified a plethora of open-ended issues such as the restrictions that enforced flexibility can bring to an urban regeneration project and raised stirring questions including ‘Will desks become redundant’, before opening the floor to questions to continue the dialogue with our international audience.

One point that seemed to keep cropping up was the continual overlap of sectors, as the commercialisation of the education sector and increase in mixed-use facilities spawned new problems as a by-product of the shifting global economy and transformation of working practices with new innovations in technology.

Michael Hammond, Founder and Editor in Chief of WAN concludes: “I’ve always believed that if you put a group of highly intelligent, creative people together in a room, something exciting will emerge. We see it often in our awards judging sessions. It’s like a microcosm of the Large Hadron Collider at Cern, you don’t know exactly what will emerge, but if you put enough energy into it, something will pop up.

“For me, that moment came on World Architecture Day was when the audience started identifying some striking similarities between design demands in the different sectors. That wasn’t on the agenda. The day had taken on a direction of its own. It wasn’t Higgs but it was something intriguing and it was just the beginning…”

Sian Disson
News Editor

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