Keynote Speech: Yama Karim

Friday 11 Oct 2013

Yama Karim steps in for Daniel Libeskind at World Architecture Day conference

The final keynote of the day presented a change of lineup, as the scheduled speaker, Daniel Libeskind, was unable to attend. Yama Karim, Libeskind’s colleague at Studio Daniel Libekind, explained to the delegates that the studio’s namesake was unable to make it to New York after being called to consult a national government on a design project.

This switch, however, highlighted one of the key themes of the talk: working with civic groups. In one project from the firm, Karim noted the importance of working with the civic authorities in order to produce a more desirable density requirement. As he notes: “Civic authorities can play a very active and productive role in achieving some of these outcomes.” Karim also discussed the need to use vertical space appropriately in future building projects and how to incorporate individuality in projects designed for large groups of people.

One such development incorporating all three themes is a residential project Libeskind and his team worked on in Milan. Despite the need to provide housing en masse, the group emphasized the focus on understanding the development at the human scale. In order to achieve this, the firm worked to make the public spaces in the development prominent, so as to be more of an outdoor living environment than terraces. Also, by creating buildings that were different and nuanced, Karim explained the intention to design a sense of individuality so that the space is different each time it is experienced.

The three parts of Karim’s speech provided a basis for questions about residential development and the creation of new housing in cities, but also delivered an excellent applied synthesis of the themes from the entire World Architecture Day program.

Emily Bowe

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