RIAI Conference 2020
  • 24 November, 9am - 4pm
  • Online

RIAI Conference 2020

2020 has undoubtedly been a tough year for everyone, yet in times of adversity, there has been resilience and adaptability. The RIAI Conference (24 November 2020) is a prime example. For the first time ever the RIAI Conference took place online and was made free to Members and Students. Thankfully because of the herculean work conducted by the RIAI, the Conference was a great success with a record number of over 1,600 attendees.

We are extremely grateful to the Members, Students and Guests from all around the globe who attended. We were honoured to have An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin T.D. address the Conference and pay tribute to the architectural profession and for Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O'Brien TD, speaking in the Housing Innovation session of the Conference. RIAI President Ciaran O’Connor opened and closed the conference. We would also like to thank our generous conference sponsors OUTHAUS Group as well as Cement Manufacturers Ireland who made the Conference accessible

The inaugural online RIAI Conference featured a strong line-up of speakers who delivered topical and truly inspirational talks:

  • Professor Ricky Burdett CBE, from the LSE Cities Unit
  • Danish Architect and Urbanist Jan Gehl
  • German Architect Anna Heringer in partnership with Goethe-Institut Irland
  • Dutch Architect and founding Secretary of DOCOMOMO International, Wessel de Jonge
  • David Mikhail from Stirling Prize Winners, Mikhail Riches
  • Alan Ricks, founding principal and Chief design officer of MASS Design Group, Boston

Architect and broadcaster Róisín Murphy was the MC for the day and did an excellent job at keeping the presentations and conversation going. Important contributions were also made by our panel speakers: Grainne Shaffrey, Ciaran Cuffe, Charlotte Sheridan, Eddie Conroy, Ruth O’Herlihy, Michael Goan, Clare McManus, Dearbhla Lawson and Carole Pollard.

The Conference discussed the changes and challenges affecting Irish society now and into the future debated across four main themes: the Future of Cities; Climate Change; Housing Innovation; and Architecture and Diversity. Each presentation was thought-provoking and inspiring. Overall it was an informative, interactive and engaging event where attendees were involved by asking their own questions to the speakers through the live chat stream provided by the Conference platform.

The RIAI Future and Student Awards were announced at the Conference via a special Awards Video.

A video recording of the RIAI Conference will be available in due course on the RIAI Website. 


Thank you for your great feedback

The Conference received great feedback across all of our social channels and the conference platform Chat with some notable highlights expressed by attendees below:

I really enjoyed the conference the other day. It comes across that you have a really strong leadership team in the institute, and it looks like an exciting place to be working. You have a clear voice and your leadership has answers for how the economy and society needs to change. The address by Michael Martin shows how highly you're regarded as part of the wider economy, and they listen to you.

Congratulations on today to you and the whole team - such a great showcase for our profession.

Thanks for you generosity and acceptance. It was a great pleasure to gain from your experience in rebuilding our country. Gratitude from Aleppo

The topics, pace, engagement throughout created an immensely enjoyable and inspiring day. Plenty food for thought and ultimately uplifting presentations.

Looking forward to the conference next year which will hopefully build on the momentum of today. There certainly appears to be an appetite for greater diversity of practice.

Coming at the end of a torrid year, a truly uplifting day. Go raimh míle maith agaibh go léir. Íontach, amach 's amach.

Excellent conference, inspiring speakers and presentations. Well done to all involved in organising and presenting.

Thank you for an excellent choice of speakers. Re-ignited my belief in the power of architecture.

A huge thanks for putting things into perspective once again. Excellent presentations and overall composition.

Inspirational conference with an amazing global reach Copenhagen, Bangladesh, Netherlands and Norwich. Thank You RIAI.

Well done to all who were involved in putting this conference together and making it accessible to so many through sensitive pricing. Long may this accessibility continue. Without it we cannot spread the word. Design makes a difference.

Extraordinary effort to put a conference of such quality together in these times - lifted the spirits!

A very worthwhile event providing interest, intellect and inspiration. Well done everyone involved.


Stay Safe and we look forward to seeing you in 2021!



Contact Details & Location


Main Contact: Sonila Papa
Tel: 086 4678619
E-mail: spapa@riai.ie