• 09 Oct 2023

RIAI Calls for Collaboration and Sustainable Solutions to Combat Built Environment Challenges at the 2023 Conference

Ireland’s largest architectural and built environment conference – the RIAI Conference – will focus on the challenges the country is facing at a time of unprecedented complexity. The RIAI believes it is time for a seismic approach on how we set the ambition and structures for Ireland’s built environment challenges. Architects have a transformative role in delivering these changes, including through collaboration with fellow built environment professions.

Taking place at the RDS on 11-12 October, the RIAI Conference provides architects and their built environment colleagues an invaluable platform for exchanging ideas and knowledge on the wider built environment. It has become increasingly apparent that collaboration is key to addressing and solving ongoing environmental and architectural challenges, such as climate change, affordable housing and the need for liveable cities and town.

For the first time, the RIAI have also dedicated an entire conference day, Thursday 12 October, to the topic of Retrofit at Scale. Inviting speakers to present and discuss retrofit rather than new build solutions for homes, workplaces and essential infrastructure.

Speaking on the Conference, Charlotte Sheridan, RIAI President, said: “We are facing an array of challenges within our industry and the built environment professions can no longer work in a silo or hierarchical manner. We also need to make sure that projects can’t be driven by metrics that are not aligned to national interest and societal and economic need. We have therefore placed collaboration and sustainability at the heart of the Conference and have invited our built environment colleagues to debate these issues with us.”

With international speakers from some of the top architectural firms in the world, the RIAI Conference will seek to inspire collaboration through a constructive and knowledge-based platform. The speakers at the 2023 Conference will discuss collaboration and the architect’s role in ensuring quality and sustainable design outcomes in both private and public sectors.

Speakers at the 2023 Conference include:

Níall McLaughlin, Winner of the 2022 RIBA Stirling Prize for the New Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge

Practising in London, Níall’s work is celebrated across Ireland, the UK and Europe for high-quality designs from education to culture and housing. Earlier this year, he won the prestigious RIAI Public Choice Award for the International Rugby Experience, which had a transformative effect on Limerick’s inner-city and has become a national and international destination.

Annalie Riches, Co-founder of Stirling Prize Winners, Mikhail Riches

Annalie will discuss the regeneration of Europe’s largest listed ‘building’ – the Park Hill estate in Sheffield, containing 1,000 refurbished homes. This project is taking a sustainable long-term view, rather than a quick fix through demolition and rebuilding. A resident described the project as follows: “What Mikhail Riches have done is nothing short of magnificent. They have approached the project like cultural archaeologists, scratching the surface to uncover the positive community spirit.” (Leanne Cloudsdale, Park Hill Resident, Letter to the AJ magazine, January 2023)

Pooja Agrawal, Co-founder and CEO of the social enterprise Public Practice

With a background in architecture and planning, Pooja Agrawal co-founded the social enterprise Public Practice. They fill an important skills need in the UK Public sector, which suffered from a reduction of architectural and urban design expertise and places professional expertise where needs arise.

Tonje Værdal Frydenlund, Director of Operations at the Norwegian Architecture firm Snøhetta

Snøhetta has been at the forefront of designing renowned public and cultural projects for over thirty years, including the landmark Oslo Opera House as well driving sustainability. The practice delivers projects around the world, dealing with differing cultural and political environments and we look forward to hearing how Snøhetta is setting agenda in an increasingly complex globalised world.

Rachel Hoolohan, Orms, London

Orms is a leading London architecture practice with extensive experience working with existing buildings. Rachel co-leads the practice’s sustainability consultancy work and will discuss her research into material passports, which was initiated as part of a wider Grosvenor Estate Innovation Project into material reuse.

The RIAI Conferences takes place alongside the Architecture + Building Expo featuring many of Ireland’s leading building technology providers. This year’s RIAI Conference sponsor is once again OUTHAUS, who has been supporting the conference since 2016.

Conference highlights also include:

Town Centre Living Exhibition

An exhibition of the Winners, Shortlist and Entries of the Town Centre Living competitions. Over 100 architectural designs were submitted to the RIAI earlier this year for public housing in town centres for this architectural design competition run by the RIAI in partnership with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the local authorities for the towns: Castleblaney, Kildare, Roscrea and Sligo.

RIAI Pop-Up Bookshop

The RIAI will bring its popular bookshop to the Conference as a pop-up. The RIAI Bookshop features the largest selection of architecture and design books in Ireland.

The RIAI Student Awards and Future Awards

The RIAI Conference will celebrate the next generation of architects at the Conference through prizes and presentations by the young winners.