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Super Saturday

Fiona Mckay

This year’s summer event started when several members requested an opportunity to attend sessions that were not on a week night and would maximise the opportunity to get credits in a single day. Responding to this, the AIA UK Chapter decided to hold its first Super Saturday event for many years on 16 Jun 2018.  

With this in mind, the programme for the day was an experiment to see if we could offer something smaller than a full weekend conference by combining the various types of events we host throughout the year, running them in a back-to-back marathon and adding coffee breaks of course! The informal, yet collegiate tone of the day had us listening to speakers in the morning, breaking for a lunch feast, then lacing up our trainers for an extensive walking tour, all followed by a relaxed webinar screening.


Damian Rogan, director of Façade Engineering for acclaimed façade engineers Eckersley O’Callaghan, presented an overview of their work pushing the boundaries of technological innovation in glazing. This highly informative talk assessed the recent advances in manufacturing capabilities for large-format glazed unit production. He gave an overview of their long term pursuit of technical innovation, which rigorously encourages iterative improvements in detailing in step with manufacturing advances available across different industries. 

Stanton Williams Associates Stephen Hadley and Kaori Ohsugi discussed the practice’s recent work in Cambridge, highlighting how each project responds to the context. Stephen presented the development of the Judge Business School for the University of Cambridge. Kaori then presented the work on North West Cambridge, a major extension to the city, including 264 new key worker homes arranged as a series of interconnected courts and squares.

Andrew Harper from Bauder volunteered his time to explain the principles of green roofing and the various design considerations required for successful implementation. From biodiverse planting for specific sites to the increasing use of 'blue' roofs to meet surface water attenuation requirements, there are numerous ways to incorporate some form of green roofing on our projects.


The group dedicated the bulk of the afternoon to discovering the rich architectural history of Covent Garden and the surrounding areas, including Bloomsbury and St. Giles. The tour was planned and guided by architectural historian Mike Althorpe, also known as the London Ambler. The tour explored the rich architectural palimpsest of the area that included the urban juxtapositions of 1970’s-era community housing; 17th century formal arrangements of Lincolns Inn Fields; the Brutalist optimism of Richard Seifert’s Space House and the St Giles YMCA. The tour also compared the current masterplan for expansion of the London School of Economics to the masterplan of the University College London Campus, prepared by Charles Holden in the 1930s. Many participants marvelled at the number of buildings on the tour that they had not previously stopped to notice and consider. We look forward to doing more tours with Mike in the future!

For those with the most stamina (or need for credits!) we ran a group viewing of the AIA U course Modernizing a Modernist Icon: Renovation of Kahn’s Richards Laboratories. AIA U offers webinars on a full range of topics including design, technical, and practice management issues available to purchase online. This was our first test of using this platform to offer a group viewing. The course covered the design approach of the 20th century Modern Movement and how this impacted the design of buildings and engineered systems. The presenters gave an in depth review of the challenges associated with replacing the services and the glazing of the building to meet modern performance requirements while respecting the original design intent.

Written by: Alex Miller, AIA

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