a week of conferences

September 28, 2007

okay, it’s back to work after all of that travel. this week, we had two excellent conferences at school: the ifhp 2007 student congress ‘futures of cities,’ and a one-day mini-conference entitled ‘creative systems.’

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poster for the futures of cities conference and exhibition

these were great for me because the first conference was mostly about planning issues, while the second focused more on architectural (and related) systems. they were really fun – and stimulating (like i needed more thesis ideas!). i’m writing up both of these conferences in more detail on my valle blog, if anyone is interested in more info or photos.

futures of cities was held jointly with the ifhp world congress (read: expensive but amazing professionals’ conference), and we got to share some keynote addresses, events, and a party with them. more than 300 students from 35 countries came to copenhagen for the student congress, and there were more than 193 entries in the 2007 ‘futures of cities’ competition (which was a large part of the student conference). i really wish i could have been able to take part in the professionals’ conference – there were something like twenty different topic-specific organized tours of copenhagen to choose from! it was really cool to be a part of the student conference, though. for me, the highlights of the two days were addresses by shigeru ban and ellen van loon (of oma) plus getting to see all of the cool competition entries (which will be on display at school for a while). the main areas of focus at the conference were shanghai, dubai, dealing with doomsday scenarios (caused by natural disaster or global warming), the design of socially irresponsible iconic buildings, and micro-communities. it was really interesting to get a largely european perspective on the issues tied to these topics, and also to hear all of the hype about shanghai. shanghai and dubai. what a pair. it was also humbling (though not surprising) to see u.s. cities used as examples of unsustainable development (hello, atlanta, denver, and houston!). we’ve got a long way to go, but there are some really inspirational examples out there. okay, moving on…

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the four speakers’ exhibits at the creative systems conference

the creative systems conference was also great – it was one day packed full of speakers, but they were all really interesting and the topics fit together really well despite the speakers’ quite varied backgrounds. anne beim, the ph.d student who put this conference together, did a really great job of choosing the topics and organizing everything. in brief, the topics were: possibilities for using research to reorganize architectural practice into a more sustainable and responsible system (stephen kieran); formation of more efficient and beautiful concrete columns using fabric formwork (mark west); using technology to achieve architectural solutions that cannot be arrived at by hand (ludger hovestadt), and technology transfer in extreme textiles (matilda mcquaid). there was some fantastic discussion about new materials, the use of technology in design, and what “innovative” really means – and why we are continually striving to innovate. the conference organizers have promised that the discussions will be published eventually; i hope i can get my hands on a copy!

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part of the creative systems exhibition (a little laser cutter work…)

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