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RIAI Annual Conference 2018 – Leadership | Innovation | Creativity, 5 & 6 October

Published: Thursday, October 18, 2018

Eoghan Murphy, Minister for Housing Planning and Local Government, Kathryn Meghen RIAI CEO and David Browne, RIAI President.  

The theme of the 2018 RIAI Annual Conference, set by RIAI President David Browne, was Leadership | Innovation | Creativity as three key skills that define the architectural professional. An impressive line-up of international and national speakers discussed these themes over two days, 5-6 October, in the RDS. The conference was further enhanced by the Architecture + Building Expo which runs alongside it and is a platform for over 60 exhibitors, showcasing product and technology innovation.

Each day featured five conference sessions; each session was headed up by a keynote speaker and followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.  Presentations by keynote speakers were filmed and will be made available through the RIAI website.

Day 1

Housing innovator Michael Maltzan – who founded Michael Maltzan Architecture in LA in 1995 – headed up the conference’s first session on Housing, following the opening addresses by Eoghan Murphy, Minister for Housing Planning and Local Government and David Browne. Maltzan’s innovative Star Apartments in LA for the Skid Row Housing Trust in LA feature in FREESPACE at the Venice Biennale.

Sadie Morgan, a Director of drmm Architects in London shared how architects extend their influence into areas such as transport infrastructure and urban development. Sadie Morgan is Chair of the Independent Design Panel for High Speed Two and a Design Advocate for the Greater London Authority. Phillip G. Bernstein, an architect, technologist and Lecturer in Professional Practice at the Yale School of Architecture, discussed under the leadership theme, ‘why architecture needs a new business model’.

Leadership in Infrastructure Panel (l-r) Mary Conway, Laurence Lord, Sadie Morgan and Chair Liam Tuite

Day 1 also included an RIAI Members Forum, with a presentation by RIAI CEO Kathryn Meghen and contributions from the Chairs of the RIAI Committees.  The challenges for the Construction Sector from Brexit and the leadership required from architects was discussed by a Roundtable, including Ronan Gargan, Director of the EU-UK Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade; Úna Breathnach-Hifearnáin, Irish architect working for Purcell in Bristol and RIBA Rising Star; Joan McCoy, President of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects (RSUA); Alan Jones, President Elect of RIBA and David Browne, RIAI President.

Brexit Roundtable: Alan Jones, David Browne, Úna Breathnach-Hifearnáin, Joan McCoy, Ronan Gargan and Chair Fionnuala May

On Day 2, Philip Vivian, a Director of Bates Smart Architects in Sydney spoke on developing his architectural practice through design thinking and competitions. Architect Russell Curtis – a Director of procurement innovators Project Compass and former Chair of RIBA Procurement Reform Group – discussed the need for procurement reform in the building industry. Jennifer McElwain, Professor of Botany, Trinity College Dublin presented her thought-provoking research which placed current climate change into a long-term geological context of the past 400 million years using fossil plant proxies or indicator methods to reconstruct past levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Amsterdam-based urban economist Paul Jansen, the Cities Market Leader for Arup, discussed  new trends in urban economiues as well as challenges and opportunities.  

Philip Vivian, Director of Bates Smart Architects in Sydney

With Irish architects Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara at the helm of La Biennale di Venezia this is a special year for Irish architecture.  The RIAI Annual Conference was delighted to feature a keynote with Shelley McNamara, took conference delegates on a fascinating virtual tour of FREESPACE and shared insights into global architecture.

Shelley McNamara was joined on stage by the Venice team: Alice Clancy, Emmett Scanlon, Nathalie Weadick, Professor Hugh Campbell. James Rossa O’Hare, Gerard Carty, James Martin, Livia Hurley, David and Oran from Atelier David Smith.

RIAI Student Awards were presented on Saturday 6 October to the winners and runners up of the four RIAI Student Award schemes. See also coverage on the RIAI Student Awards 2018

RIAI Scott Tallon Walker Student Excellence Award in Architecture – Prize fund €5000
RIAI Architecture Ireland Student Writing Prize sponsored by Forbo – Prize fund €2500
RIAI Student Award for Sustainable Design sponsored by Dulux – Prize fund €2500
RIAI Rising Star in Architectural Technology sponsored by Soprema – Prize fund €5000

RIAI Conference Films:  To introduce the sessions, the RIAI commissioned a series of short films. Film maker Paddy Cahill interviewed clients of award-winning projects to find out the value, innovation and skills architects bring. The films will also be shared through the RIAI website and the RIAI Member e-newsletter over the coming weeks.

Further Conference images are on the RIAI Facebook

Sincere thanks to the OutHaus Group who joined us again as Premier Conference Sponsors. 

Thank you also to Cement Manufacturers Ireland who sponsored a reduced Student Rate.
Thank you for the stage furniture supplied by Minima.

Premier Conference Sponsor


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