Press Release:
The globe’s most venerated and exciting architects to speak at World Architecture Festival 2016

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The World Architecture Festival (WAF) has announced a swathe of new speakers for this year’s event, taking place at Arena Berlin, Germany from 16-18 November. Featuring a stellar collection of architects from Europe, Asia and the Americas, this year’s programme responds to the Festival’s theme “Housing for Everyone”, and will include speeches, discussions and debates exploring how demographics and global urbanisation are forcing change in the way we think about everything from refugee accommodation to new cities.

Speakers at World Architecture Festival 2016 will include (clockwise from top left): Ivan Harbour, Eric Parry, Jeanne Gang, Ben van Berkel, Sir Peter Cook, Monica von Schmalensee

Principals and directors of some of the world’s leading architecture and design practices, including Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners, Mecanoo, Sauerbruch Hutton, Neri&Hu, Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Shop Architects, Woha, and White Arkitekter, will debate a range of issues from the imperatives to create shelter at one end of the spectrum, and sufficiency for occupation and investment at the other.

Programme highlights include:

Session: What’s changed? How we live now, how will we live tomorrow?
The session will explore how population movements, demographic shifts and lifestyle trends have informed how we live collectively and as individuals. It will seek to address how this has impacted on the function, design and servicing of dwellings today and how will these factors affect the housing, and life, of tomorrow?
Speakers: Wolf Prix, Principal, Coop Himmelblau & Sir Peter Cook, Principal, CRAB Studio

Session: Housing and the urban block
How can architects use their influence to ensure housing is woven into the urban fabric where it sits, creating communities or ‘urban villages’? What services, infrastructure and other considerations are required for the design of housing which recognises occupiers’ need for connectivity and a sense of place?
Speakers: Coren Sharples, Principal, SHOP Architects and Morten Schmidt, Principal, Schmidt Hammer Lassen

Session: Housing and construction
A session exploring how architects seek to combine quality with quantity over large-scale developments. It will address how new technologies are allow designers to customise mass construction, reducing time and manpower need to engineer contemporary homes.
Speakers: Ivan Harbour, Partner, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners & Tristram Carfrae, Group Board Director, Arup

Session: Housing and cultural difference
The architects and masterplanners behind India’s largest housing regeneration programme explain how they created new ways of telling, making and experiencing the urban environment for a community dominated by a tight-knit Shia sect. By analysing existing social and physical deficiencies they plan to create an urban metamorphosis with new forms of land assembly and occupancy patterns that will enhance the individual and social experience of the occupiers.
Speaker: Qutub Mandviwala, Principal, MQA

Keynote talk: Housing as architecture
The discussion of housing is currently based on politics, migration, urbanisation, new cities and numbers. Patrik Schumacher, Director of Zaha Hadid Architects will question what has happened to the consideration of this building type as architecture, and what lessons can be drawn from the work of Zaha Hadid Architects in Berlin and across the world?
Speaker: Patrik Schumacher, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects

Ben van Berkel, Founder/Principal Architect of UNStudio will give the Festival’s opening keynote talk on the topic of ‘Superliving – from exclusive to inclusive’. Van Berkel gave his thoughts on the programme theme and hinted at the message he will give in his lecture: “It is essential to understand that ‘housing for everyone’ is not simply a matter of providing homes for all, it is also a question of what the home of the future should be; how we can meet the demands of all future residents and provide housing that fulfils their varied and changing needs.”

Paul Finch, Programme Director of the World Architecture Festival, added: “We’ve assembled an enviable roster of some of the world’s most eminent architectural thinkers and thought leaders, who will bring their wide-ranging experience to bear for three days of discussion and discourse in Berlin. The provision of housing and residential development is one of the most pertinent and pressing issues faced by societies across the world and we’re excited to be convening such a strong list of speakers.”

WAF and its co-located sister event, INSIDE World Festival of Interiors, will welcome more than 2,000 of the world’s leading architects and designers to the city for three days of conference programmes, awards, exhibitions and fringe events.

Returning for its ninth edition, and following four successful years in Singapore, the Festival returns to its European roots and will be housed in Franz Ahrens’ historic 1920s former bus depot, now known as Arena Berlin.




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