An ever-popular part of the show, the annual programme of talks showcases the latest thinking within the architecture and design community.
by Helen Parton
As well as the 200+ product innovations, material curation plus networking opportunities, the talks area is a must-visit part of Architect@Work’s London event, which takes places 22-23 March at the Truman Brewery in the east of the city.
A project in Upper Street by Amin Taha, this year’s keynote speaker. © Amin Taha/Groupwork
This year’s theme is Energy and Ecosystems, a topic that is expected to provoke timely and lively debate over the two days. The keynote discussion for 2023 comes from Groupwork founder Amin Taha.
The Office Group’s Black and White Building in Shoreditch. © Jake Curtis
Starting proceedings on the Wednesday is a session entitled ‘Positive About energy saving’ and features speakers including Gary Thornton, associate lighting director with architectural lighting specialists Nulty+; Sophie Werren, lead architects with flexible workspace specialists The Office Group; Kiru Balson, sustainability consultant with engineers Max Fordham. Chaired by design journalist Helen Parton, the debate will look at the energy buildings consume and how that challenges architects, designers and developers in terms of balancing the needs of tenants, funding of projects and design elements from landscaping to lighting.
Volume Creative projects include materials such as printed sugar cane and bioplastic.
© Volume Creative
Debika Ray, editor of Crafts magazine chairs the next session on ‘Making the most of waste’. The stellar line up of built environment professionals here includes Catrina Stewart, co-founder of Office S&M; Callie Tedder Hares, founding partner and creative director of Volume; Anna Burles, creative director and founder of Run for the Hills and Debbie Whitfield, urban impact impact director at developer Fabrix. They will consider how we are fitting out our spaces with material and how that makes the most of waste, and what that means for aesthetics.
St John's School Music Pavilion with engineering courtesy of Webb Yates. © Webb Yates
Kicking things off on the second day is a session on ‘Earth Building: what can the planet provide?’ It will examine how research and clever engineering as well as acknowledging the ancient history of architecture when buildings were made of straw, timber and stone can establish a brighter and more sustainable path towards a better built environment. Speakers taking on this topic include Steve Webb, founder, Webb Yates engineers; Andrew Waugh, founder and director Waugh Thistleton architects and Laura Keay, founding director, New Makers Bureau with Vanessa Norwood chairing.
The second session on the final day will cover ‘creating climate equity’, considering how, by listening to a broader spectrum of opinions than the traditionally homogenous perspective have been commissioned from, it will result in buildings and landscapes that work better for different communities. Chair Marsha Ramroop will be joined by panellists Shiro Muchiri, founder and director of SoShiro; Pedro Gil of Studio Gil and Julia Skeete, senior associate principal with SOM.
This year’s sessions will be rounded off by Negroni Talks, the irreverent and often provocative series of architecture discussion series. Under the topic ’net zero - fact or fallacy’ George Martin will ably steer the panel of John Fashanu, Dash Studio, Tara Gbolade, Gbolade Studio and Heatherwick Studio’s Matt Bell, considering whether it is too late to change course or can we avoid the climate emergency?