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INTBAU / Everything Old is New Again

Fiona Mckay

INT Congress 18 Single-03.png

It is the aim of the AIA UK Board of Directors to offer sufficient CE credits to satisfy the diverse interests and requirements of the Chapter’s membership.  In 2017, the UK Chapter organized events, lectures, tours, etc., generating 48.5 CES credits; in 2018, 49.5 CES credits - and there are constant efforts to better that record.

In 2018, the Board undertook a survey to investigate event preferences and is taking efforts to implement the results - a Super Saturday was reintroduced for those who cannot make weekday events; efforts are being investigated for joint recognition of events with the RIBA; and other organisations will be promoted for self-reporting opportunities in 2019.  And then – in late 2018 – an AIA approved event just came out of the blue and supplemented the Chapter’s CES credit total.

Ethan Antony, AIA, from the AIA Central Massachusetts Chapter, recognised that the INTBAU World Congress was holding its biennial forum in London on 27-28 Nov 2018 and brought the event to AIA UK’s attention.  Thankfully, he also did the legwork that achieved AIA approval for 6.0 CES credits.

The INTBAU World Congress ‘brings together global perspectives and knowledge for discussion and debate of pressing issues and difficult questions facing the built environment in communities around the world’.  Given that it works under the patronage of its founder, HRH The Prince of Wales, it has a clear agenda ‘to support traditional building, the maintenance of local character, and the creation of better places to live’.

INTBAU / Contexts Session

INTBAU / Contexts Session

And, yes – as to be expected – the Congress - with its formal sessions on Contexts, Materials and Identities - did have a strong emphasis on academic research and the topics of vernacular architecture, conservation and traditional materials.  However, there were also multiple presentations on the relevance of such topics to today’s architectural profession. The various presentations kept the overall programme not only balanced, but wide-ranging in its appeal. See full Congress programme HERE.

Linking discussions on traditional craftsmen and materials to the Congress’ title ‘Everything Old is New Again’, there were lectures on the joys and potentials of modern mud construction and the use of CLT wood construction to speed up delivery of UK social housing.  

Photo Credit: INTBAU Spain and Terrachidia

Photo Credit: INTBAU Spain and Terrachidia

Sean Griffiths, professor of Architecture at the University of Westminster, then asked the fundamental question - ‘What is the nature of a natural material?’.  He then amused and stimulated the attendees with his proclamation that ‘natural is not necessarily innocent’ and his warning to be careful ‘when equating nature with ethical moral virtue’.

There were also lectures on the delivery of urban projects in diverse locations with an emphasis on creating liveable conditions – encouraging walkable communities in car-loving America via a ‘missing middle’ housing development; generating traditional housing forms in Asia; empowering communities in Oman to adapt and revitalise traditional villages; and ‘balancing resiliency, budget and beauty’ while rebuilding in disaster hit New Orleans.  

The Congress included presentations from or about the US, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Greece, Norway, Spain, France, Sweden, Palestine, Oman, Norway and Finland as well as the UK and there were opportunities at break times to engage with all the global participants.

INTBAU was also not averse to controversy and had the courage to address an issue that concerns many modern practitioners.  Phineas Harper, Deputy Director at the Architecture Foundation, discussed the ever present danger of too many people commonly associating traditional architecture with a far-right populist agenda – a topic he openly admitted that was designed to offend at least some of the attendees and participants.

Photo Credit: Lorraine King, AIA

Photo Credit: Lorraine King, AIA

For example, he linked the demolition of the Robin Hood Housing estate with analysis that somehow equated modern housing with the antithesis of traditional – and therefore supposedly morally preferable – housing.  People should not, he insisted, lose their homes over arguments on architectural style.

A following talk – perhaps designed to appease attendees and participants possibly affronted by Phineas Harper’s discourse - described the ‘architectural uprising’ in Sweden and Finland resulting from a programme to increase public awareness of design issues by – for example – letting the public express its views on the current trends in architectural awards.  The presentation concluded that ‘there are alternatives to boring boxes…’.

All in all, the INBAU World Congress was a resounding example of the potential for furthering architectural education and debate through collaboration with other organisations.  See HERE for a partial listing of organisations in the UK that provide alternative events for self-reporting, including INTBAU and the Architectural Association.  Please feel free to bring other organisations to the Chapter’s attention.

Written by: Lorraine D King, AIA

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Movie Night - Citizen Jane

Fiona Mckay

Our final movie screening for the Autumn 2018 was 'Citizen Jane - Battle For The City.'

This is a documentary about writer and urban activist Jane Jacobs, and her fight to save historic New York City during the ruthless redevelopment era of urban planner Robert Moses in the 1960s. Jacobs work was mentioned briefly in our October screening of ‘Urbanised’, so it was fitting to get an in-depth view of Jacobs’ work. Jacobs insisted that with skyscrapers come slums, emphasising the city as a community of people rather than a collection of buildings. Her activism resonates loudly in our present time, as grassroots movements rise up to resist power-based bullying and autocratic authority.

This documentary was very well received, with many of the issues Jacobs campaigned against, resonating with the audience. Sadly these issues have not gone away, and there were many examples raised, which are occurring in cities around the World.

This documentary was a good ending piece to the 2018 Movie series. Many thanks to all who have attended throughout the year, and we look forward to welcoming you all back to the BFI on Wednesday 13 February 2019, for the start of our 2019 Series.

Chris Musangi, AIA

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AIA INTERNATIONAL DESIGN AWARDS / Merit Award for SOM’s Covent Garden Plan

Fiona Mckay

On 3 Nov 2018, the AIA International Region announced its 2018 Design Award winners at an Awards Ceremony in Singapore – the 4th such ceremony since 2014.

This year’s jurors - Ms Elizabeth Chu Richter FAIA, 2015 President of the American Institute of Architects; Mr Taro Ashihara Hon FAIA, JLA, Immediate Past President of the Japan Institute of Architects; and Professor Tom Heneghan AA Dipl, Tokyo University of the Arts – reviewed submissions in four design categories - Architecture, Interior Architecture, Urban Design and Open International.   

Representing the AIA UK Chapter, Skidmore Owings & Merrill received the Merit Award for Urban Design for their work at London’s New Covent Garden, an area that stretches from Vauxhall in the east to the Battersea Power Station in the west, including the new US Embassy and several proposed locations for the controversial Nine Elms/Pimlico pedestrian bridge.

Daniel Ringelstein AIA, Director of Urban Design and Planning, expressed his support for the redevelopment on London’s South Bank: “We could not be more pleased professionally to have supported Vinci St Modwen and the Covent Garden Market Authority in the delivery of ‘the final piece’ of the Vauxhall Nine Elms Battersea Opportunity Area vision, to create a much-improved market integrated into an emerging and vibrant new district for London.”

“Our vision for the surplus lands integrates future residential-led mixed-use development into the ever-changing local area.  The schemes for the Northern and Entrance Sites will become gateways into the Nine Elms Linear Park, and provide a significant percentage of the district’s future open space network.  The project also provides an exemplar for comfort of living and community amenity integrated within high density urban regeneration.”

Other International Region Design Award winners were:

Honor Award for Open International I Architecture:  Nordea Bank, Copenhagen, Denmark, Henning Larsen Architects (Louis Becker, Int’l Assoc AIA)

Merit Awards for Open International I Architecture:

West Kowloon Station, Hong Kong, AEDAS, China (Andrew Bromberg, Assoc AIA)

Cluny Park Residence, Singapore, SCDA Architects (Soo K Chan AIA)

University of British Columbia Aquatic Centre, Vancouver, Canada, MJMA & Acton Ostry Architects (Ted Watson, Int’l Assoc AIA)

Skyterract@Dawson, Singapore, SCDA Architects (Soo K Chan AIA)

Commendation Award for Open International I Architecture: Garden Restroom, Hong Kong, LAAB Architects (Otto Ng, Assoc AIA)

Honor Award for Interior Architecture: South China morning Post, Hong Kong, M Moser Associates

Merit Award for Interior Architecture: Nested Learning Spaces Seoul Foreign School, Seoul, South Korea (John Hong, AIA)

Commendation Award for Interior Architecture: f22foto space, Hong Kong, LAAB Architects and Carlow Architecture & Design (Otto Ng, Assoc AIA & Jason Carlow, Assoc AIA)

Honor Award for Urban Design: Shenzhen BKG Triangle – Regeneration Master Plan, Shenzhen City, China, Callison RTKL and IUPDR, Shenzhen University (Gregory A Yager AIA)

Given the success of UK architectural companies in this and past year’s International Region Design Awards, the AIA UK Chapter strongly encourages the chapter membership to participate.   AIA Members making submittals to the AIA UK’s own Design Awards - to be held in late April 2019 - have an opportunity to re-submit their projects in the next IR Region programme to be announced later in the year.   

Following AIA awards programme guidelines, all full AIA licensed architects in the International Region are allowed to submit projects in all categories; however, all International Associate AIA members are also invited to submit in the Urban Design and Open International categories. The Open International category has been established to encourage International Region members to participate.  This category recognises architectural design solutions that are respectful of their local culture and have unique programmes in an international context.

Written by: Lorraine King, AIA

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Fiona Mckay

The AIA UK Chapter is committed to providing exceptional service to our membership and the UK architectural community. 

We love seeing many of you at our events, but also acknowledge there are a number of faces we'd like to see more of!  This year, we've put together a short survey to understand how to better serve our members. 

Have your say in our calendar events and membership benefits; click here to take the survey! 

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EMERGING PROFESSIONALS / Ten Tips for Taking the ARE Exams

Fiona Mckay


The most recent AIA UK Chapter Emerging Professional event was held on 1 October at the offices of AHMM.  A study group of licensure candidates taking their Architecture Registration Examinations met to share their experiences.  The list below is a summary of their advice for other exam takers.

  1. Seize the day! There is never a perfect time to begin, so don’t delay starting.  Sign up for an exam one a month or two in advance and work backwards from that date to plan your study schedule.  As designers, we should get used to deadlines, so treat yourself to one.   

  2. Consider the order you take your exams carefully.  PPD and PPP are interrelated so it’s a good idea to take them back to back.   It may make sense to take the others in order - PcM > PjM > PA > CE.

  3. Discuss the licensing procedures with your supervisors.  Remember – outside the US, people will not be familiar with the ARE process and your supervisors will need to understand your plans and what steps will need to be followed. 

  4. Use more than one study guide.  The guides all cover slightly different material and their practice questions differ in their level of difficulty. They can be expensive to buy on your own so ask around to see if you can borrow one, or split the cost with other test takers.  Remember - the AIA UK has a library of study material which can be checked out by members!

  5. Use the community boards on the NCARB website. They are full of useful information and moderators.  Also - other candidates are helpful and usually quick to respond if you post questions.

  6. Get free lessons on YouTube. There are loads of helpful videos to watch, ranging from NCARB’s own exam overviews to more technical materials, such as explanations of refrigeration or electrical current.  . 

  7. Develop an exam strategy that works for you and PRACTICE.  Don’t just test your basic knowledge, also try out test-taking strategies.   For example - some people skip all the math questions at the first pass, then come back to them at the end so they don’t fritter away time number crunching.  Other people discipline themselves to a first hour or hour and a half to do the case studies.

  8. Don’t beat yourself up if you fail an exam.  The exams cover so much information there is no way to be 100% prepared, so just do your best.  If you do fail one, think of it as a learning experience, a reconnaissance mission. The next time you take it, you will have a better understanding of what you need to know and how to regulate your time. 

  9. Find study buddies.  Working with others makes studying more fun and your peers can help keep you on track.  You can share materials, quiz each other and help each other establish study schedules. 

  10. Let the AIA UK know!  If you are taking your exams, we can be of help.   We run ARE workshops where you can meet other licensure candidates – just check out the details on our website.

Written by: Katharine Storr, AIA

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AIA International Region Conference

Fiona Mckay


The AIA International Region (AIA IR) held its 4th annual conference in Singapore from November 2-4.  The conference was sold-out, and 19 countries were represented in attendance.  Singapore based IR members Yew Kee Cheong and Manon Koestoer led the organisational effort.  Highlights included superb lectures by local/regional based architects including SCDA/Soo Chan, WOHA, and Indonesian based Isandra Matin Ahmad, and Ken Yeang, as well as North American imports including KPF’s Jamie von Klemperer, FAIA (currently designing the Singapore airport expansion), and resiliency guru Illya Azaroff, AIA.  Building tours included the National Gallery, Gardens by the Bay (designed by UK based WilkinsonEyre), SCDA’s superb Dawson estate, and Henderson Waves (RSP Architects).

The AIA IR 2018 Design Awards were presented at the gala dinner, held at the IM Pei designed Swissotel.  Many of the award winners from around the globe were in attendance and spoke about their projects – a magical evening!

Future IR conferences will be in Shanghai (2019), Dubai (2020), and London (2021). Mark your calendars now!

Written by: Lester Korzilius, FAIA

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