World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Largest Architecture Conference Opens


Architects have been challenged to be more assertive about who they are, what they do and why they are of value.

That was the message presented to architects from New Zealand and around the world at the opening of New Zealand's largest ever architecture conference.

In an opening "provocation" to the Commonwealth Association and New Zealand Institute of Architects three day conference which gets under way in Wellington this morning, Wellington architect and Deputy Principal of the Central Institute of Technology, Tommy Honey challenged architects to engage more forcefully in promoting their skills, their profession and their role in shaping the cities in which they work.

In a hard-hitting but witty speech, Mr Honey chided his colleagues saying they were too passive in public. "Why, when the media present buildings, do they not identify the architects? Would they review a book without naming the author? But more to the point, why, when we go unidentified, do we keep quiet? Every time an architectural issue appears in the paper or on TV, we should be there, asserting our rights as the authors."

Similarly, he said, architects need to better communicate their views in urban design debates.

"The sad, sad and futile case of the Wellington Waterfront, and its capture by an architecturally illiterate group of urban dyslexics is an incredible indictment of the powers and influence of the architectural profession. It represents a signal failure of our ability to be heard when it matters. Where were the town meetings organised by the Institute of Architects, by the Architectural Centre? Where were the lunchtime meetings in the civic square, the sit-ins, the parades, the fuelling of the groundswell of public opinion, the appeals to the grass-roots? Conspicuous by their absence. A few lone and plaintiff cries that we must be heard because we are architects, because we are the experts. Self- appointed, of course."

Those ideas were reiterated by the other opening speaker Andy Bow of the London based international architectural practice, Foster and Partners. Mr Bow told delegates at the conference that they were all at the conference because of their interest in the built environment and they needed to see themselves as custodians of that world.

"On a daily basis we must ask ourselves the question: are we enhancing or damaging the existing city balance? Doctor's bury their mistakes, ours are around for a sufficiently long time and are visible for everyone to see. We are all, and must always remain, publicly accountable for our work," he said.

Mr Bow said similar issues confront every major city in the world.

"Cities need to consider their vision of the future in the global marketplace, how to protect and enhance the existing city fabric in the face of development pressures and how to revise the over - dominance of the motor car."

The conference features a line up of some of the best architects in the world with eight keynote speakers from overseas and four from New Zealand.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: Zimbabwe - Meet The New Bosses

At 75, Mnangagwa is not exactly what you’d call a new broom. As many observers have pointed out, his track record has been one of unswerving dedication to Mugabe ever since the days of anti-colonial insurgency... To these guys, things had to change in Zimbabwe, so that things could remain the same. More>>


Gordon Campbell: Is This Guy The World’s Most Dangerous Thirtysomething?

Saudi Arabia has long been regarded as a pillar of stability in the Middle East, and is the essential caterer to the West’s fossil fuel needs. It is also the country that gave us Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda, and 15 of the 19 terrorists who carried out the 9/11 attacks... More>>


Non-Binding Postal Vote: Australia Says Yes To Same Sex Marriage

Binoy Kampmark: Out of 150 federal seats, 133 registered affirmative totals in returning their response to the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”. More>>


Bonn Climate Change Conference: Protecting Health In Small Island States

The vision is that, by 2030, all Small Island Developing States will have health systems that are resilient to climate change and countries around the world will be reducing their carbon emissions both to protect the most vulnerable from climate risks and deliver large health benefits in carbon-emitting countries. More>>