WAF Conference Highlights: Day Two


2 December 2021

The second day of the conference kicked off with Founder | Principal Architect UNStudio & Founder UNSENSE - Ben van Berkel.

Berkel illustrated how to design communities that have little impact on the planet but a lasting impact on our cities and people. He stated that “technology will be the game changer in designing social and healthy communities.” His message to everyone watching was “design with the future in mind.”

Ben van Berkel

INSIDE Keynote speaker Paul Williams, Founder Director at Stanton Williams, followed. Paul revealed the thinking and process behind some of the practice’s projects over the years, showing how working with artists, art, and space, remains a source of constant inspiration for Stanton Williams

Vicente Guallart, Founder and Principal at Guallart Architects headlined the following WAFX session chaired by WAF’s Paul Finch and Jeremy Melvin with his presentation titled ‘Growing in the City – Food & Ecology’. He commented that “cities need to be surrounded by countryside.”

David Green, Principal, Urban Design at Perkins&Will then gave an intricate lecture titled ‘The Incremental City.’ Green explored the traits shared across urban areas and how they could be implemented in today’s planning environment.

Joanna Bacon – Managing Partner and Daniel Elsea – Director – Communications at Allies and Morrison joined the day from the event studio in London. They took to the stage with a special ‘Urban Reset’ talk looking at how Msheireb Downtown Doha could be reset.


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Joanna and Daniel joined us in the London studio

Next up, Karl Lennon provided his second GROHE CPD training session of the week. During his presentation, Lennon considered 3D printing in general terms, he explored its application in the bathroom sector and discusses standards and regulations.

During lunch, delegates were provided with a lecture from Landscape Architect, Historian, Author and Collector, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan! During his 40-minute presentation Longstaffe-Gowan charted the development of the London Charterhouse and examined how the Order’s interest in cleanliness, diet, and spiritual and physical exercise contributed to the health of its community, and how some of these concerns survived the dissolution of the Charterhouse in 1537 to inform the future use and redevelopment of the former monastic estate.

Sergey Kuznetzov, Chief Architect for Moscow City then led WAF’s second Urban Reset focused talk. He focused on Moscow today and future developments.

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The second WAFX session of the day followed with Ash Sakula Architects’ Cany Ash and Targeting Zero’s Simon Sturgis. Their presentations focused on carbon, specification, retrofit and reuse. During his presentation, Sturgis pointed out that new buildings with glazed vizards will have high embodied carbon as they need to be replaced every 30-40 years.

Ash then followed with a short presentation focused on the retrofit of a 1970s building in Leicester City Centre, she took delegates through the transformation of the grey empty building into both a cultural hub and functioning business centre.

Architectural Design’s editor – Neil Spiller, then followed with his WAFX session ‘The seven continua of post-digital architecture.’ Spiller highlighted that as a designer in the twenty-first century, you need to think of your architecture as the first stirrings of a post-digital Architecture.


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Spencer de Grey, Senior Executive Partner and Head of Design at Fosters + Partners then provided delegates with an illustrated talk that showcased the practice’s history of working with artists to incorporate works of art within buildings.

Nadia Tromp, Founder at Ntsika Architects, and Ian Ritchie, Founder at ritchie*studio then took to the stage for their WAFX Session ‘Identity and Psychology.’

Finally, Jeanne Gang – Founder Principal at Studio Gang, closed the day with her keynote presentation titled ‘Finding new purchase in the As-Found.’ Gang explored ways that designers can consider and reimagine the work of a previous generation to both serve contemporary needs and contribute to a more resilient and inclusive future.   

All of these presentations will be on-demand for 90-days, book your pass to catch-up now

Join us tomorrow for the live judging sessions running from 8:00am to 4:50pm, followed by the final WAF keynote presentation from Marc Koehler and we’ll be announcing winners from 6:05 - 7:00pm

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