As our cities evolve in response to global urbanisation and climate change, urban developments need to be sustainable, adaptive, diverse and resilient to meet the demands of market creation, resource consumption, and spatial equality and efficiencies.
Under the theme ‘WeTheCity: Memory & Resilience’, the #AZA18 programme will focus on different scenarios of change as to how we live, interact, and survive both as individuals and as part of a collective, within the urban environment.
Three of the prominent and award-winning speakers who will be sharing their experiences at #AZA18 are Chilean architect, Enrique Browne; Mexico’s Gabriela Carrillo; and Mumbai-based Sameep Padora.
Hailed as ‘Architect of the Year’ in the 2017 Women in Architecture Awards by The Architectural Review and the Architects’ Journal, Gabriela Carrillo is co-director of the multi-award-winning practice Taller de Arquitectura Mauricio Rocha + Gabriela Carrillo. Using every project as an opportunity to develop her thoughts on space, light and shadow, perspective, warmth and atmosphere, Carrillo intends to share with the #AZA18 audience, the strategies that she has developed while working in a place always in crisis, together with the opportunities that these scenarios can afford.
As principal of the award-winning design studio sP+a, Sameep Padora’s work covers projects across a range of socio-economic and cultural contexts, exploring how traditional techniques can be appropriated through a process of evolution, and informed by global and regional networks to become relevant in a contemporary context. “I enjoy the process of design as well the design of processes that make it possible to engage with the multiple actors and paradigms that today’s contexts involve,” he says. “I believe the greatest challenge we face is the relevance of our profession, and whether or not our profession has a role to play in addressing real challenges that face our society today – from affordable housing to the environment, to the politics embedded in the act of building.”
Driven by the love for architecture and innovation, and by his own need for answers, in architectural terms, to our changing world, Enrique Browne believes that new urban and social problems can often be solved by returning to first principles, which can then be further developed using new technologies. He says, “I think the ‘spirit of the age’ is being defined by two different and growing challenges. One is global communication associated with the evolution of artificial intelligence; the second is sustainability. Of course, I don’t have all the answers, but I try to make a partial contribution to them in my design work.”
As a place for knowledge sharing and networking, Browne feels that events like AZA play an invaluable role in shaping the Built Environment disciplines, saying, “I am looking forward to the interchange of emerging ideas and the possibility of getting to know new people who can enrich our intelligence and our life.”
Carrillo agrees. “I love the idea of having a space to share the processes of our practice, as well as the shared challenges and opportunities that underpin our work, with colleagues from different countries.”
“Events like AZA make it possible for practitioners and academics to incubate ideas from other groups of architects and designers grappling with similar challenges elsewhere,” adds Padora. “In this way, the knowledge base becomes additive and accrues into learnings that we can build on, rather than always beginning from scratch. The compressed atmosphere of intense learning at conferences like AZA is incredibly valuable.”
In terms of industry support, AZA is fortunate to be partnering with PPC again in 2018. Daniel van der Merwe, Innovation Architect at PPC Group Services, says, “As the market leader in South Africa, PPC has tracked the growth and development of the local built environment, and the PPC iconic brand is closely linked to the growth and development of South Africa itself. It could even be said that PPC cement has helped with the construction of South Africa’s cities as we know them today. PPC is therefore extremely proud to be associated with #AZA18 around the theme ‘WeTheCity’.”
This year, the #AZA18 organisers have put together a remarkably flexible programme in response to local economic considerations and in order to accommodate both working professionals and students. One-Day rates, keynote presentations in the evenings, and incredibly reasonable delegate packages make this opportunity to participate in shaping our cities collectively, a not-to-be-missed event!