Twenty-five years ago, in October 1994, 150 architects, guests and exhibitors gathered in the Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod Wells for the inaugural, not yet Royal, Society of Architects in Wales Annual Conference and Exhibition. Chaired by Robin Nicholson, the conference posed the question Architects: Leaders or Followers? It will be fascinating to see how much the architecture profession has changed in the quarter of a century since then.
Today, following the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire, the whole of the construction industry, its procurement processes, lines of responsibility and reporting and the roles of individual professions have rightly come under close scrutiny. For our 25th annual conference, the Royal Society of Architects in Wales addresses these fundamental issues, asking the question ‘What is the value of the architect in today’s challenging economic and environmental conditions?’
With the RIBA’s Ethics and Sustainable Development Commission about to publish its research findings, and the Presidents of the five architecture institutes in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland recently committing to five shared principles, we explore how it might be possible to identify and promote the skills and qualities which an architectural training develops. We look at how client bodies view the architecture profession and the changing role of professional bodies, especially when they themselves come under a critical light. We ask what happens when personal integrity becomes hard to maintain in the light of commercial and economic pressures. We aim to explore the core obligations that a responsible professional should embrace and the impact these can have on society and our planet.
In Wales, this has special resonance in the light of the Welsh Government’s Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, described by the United Nations as “world-leading”, offering an opportunity for Wales to use strategic policy to deliver truly visionary action. Our conference will demonstrate how architects can play a crucial role in delivering the Act’s aim to create a vibrant and prosperous Wales for everyone.
Above all, we will celebrate excellent design with exemplars and case studies throughout the programme - and we end with our 25-year old tradition of The Inspiration Hour, a stimulating and rewarding end to an intensive day!
For the full programme including details of how to book, please download either the Welsh or English language flyer below.