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World Architecture Festival reveals key speakers


Top row (L-R): Kai-Uwe BergmannRahel BelatchewNiall McLaughlin. Bottom row (L-R): Charles Jencks, Alex McDowell, Michael Kokora. Above images appear courtesy of worldarchitecturefestival.com. 

The World Architecture Festival, to be held in Singapore from 4-6 November, has revealed its key speakers, boasting an impressive program as the festival celebrates its 50th year. Key topics for this year’s festival include cities and urbanism, imaging the future and designing for tomorrow.


Shenzhen Stock Exchange by OMA, photography by Philippe Ruault


Michael Kokora of leading international architecture firm OMA will present a talk called ‘Mapping the Future,’ examining how data can be used to inform city design and planning in order to improve, energise and regenerate urban communities. Kokora oversaw the design and construction of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange from 2007 to 2013, alongside numerous residential and revitalisation projects throughout Asia.

Bjarke Ingels Group Big U in Manhattan

Bjarke Ingels Group’s BIG U concept for Manhattan, courtesy BIG


Another key speaker will be Kai-Uwe Bergmann of Bjarke Ingels Group. Kai-Uwe has recently contributed to the resiliency plan BIG U to protect Manhattan’s coastline and will discuss, in his words, “developing architecture that fits life as we want to live it, no matter the climate.

Michael Sorkin and Rachel Belatchew, principal of Belatchew Arkitekter will discuss the future of food, looking at the innovative methods currently working to preserve ecological sustainability. Projecting philosophy on the future of our built environments, Niall McLaughlin, principal at Niall McLaughlin Architects and Stephen Pimbley, principal at SPARK will explore the the ways in which architecture should respond to changes in life expectancy, while Charles Jencks tracks the ways in which society has hypothesised about the future.

Award-winning designer Alex McDowell, creative director at 5D Global Studio and director at USC World Building Media Lab and USC World Building Institute, will discuss community building from Hollywood blockbusters to the real world, in his talk ‘Building world: future, reality, not science fiction.’ McDowell embodies emerging technologies and experimental media in his work as a production designer, storyteller and creative director.

Constance Street Affordable Housing by Cox Rayner Architects

Constance Street Affordable Housing by Cox Rayner Architects


An impressive number of Australian firms have been shortlisted in this year’s WAF, but of particular note is Cox Rayner Architects, with two nominations for their Cairns Cultural Centre in the Competition Entries – Future Projects and Culture – Future Projects categories, as well as a nomination for their Master Plan project and their design of The University of Queensland Oral Health Centre in association with Hames Sharley.

Australian projects are predominant across all categories, particularly sport, health, education and school projects.

To view this year’s strong Australian contenders, click here. The full WAF shortlist can be found here.


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