Architect 2011, the Annual Sessions of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) will commence with the inauguration ceremony on 23 February at the BMICH.
A celebration of the profession of architecture in Sri Lanka, the Annual Sessions consists of several key components including the National Conference (February 24, 2011 at BMICH), Architects’ Work and Trade Exhibition (February 24 to 27, 2011 at BMICH), the Annual General Meeting (February 26 at BMICH) and the Fellowship Night (February 27 at Cinnamon Lakeside).
The theme of this year’s sessions will be ‘Architecture for all: City + Community’.
The inauguration ceremony is expected to be graced by Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development, and Ashok K. Kantha, High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka, while the National Conference is planned to be conducted in the presence of Wimal Weerawansa, Minister of Construction and Engineering Services and Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
The sessions will also be attended by Archt. Mubasshar Hussain, President of the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA), Ruth Reive, President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, delegates from CAA and the Architects Regional Council Asia (ARCASIA), as well as members of the local and global architectural fraternity, other professionals, students, media and the public.
Elaborating on the objectives of the Annual Sessions, Archt. Chandana Edirisuriya, President of SLIA, stated: “Once a year, we create a platform for architects, members of the construction industry, trade and the public to interact. Through this, we create and try to maintain the momentum in the construction industry, so that it benefits those who are in the industry as well as the public.”
A key feature of the inauguration ceremony will be the presentation of awards aimed at encouraging members to enhance the quality of their work, while also recognising their contribution to the profession, noted Archt. Ranjan Nadesapillai, Senior Vice President of SLIA.
Awards will be presented in the categories of design, colour, research in architecture, architectural publications and young architect of the year, while the product awards aims to promote the trade and local production.
In addition, the inauguration ceremony will also feature the presentation of scrolls to new members who enter the profession. A publication titled ‘50 Years of Architecture in Sri Lanka’ will also be launched during the occasion.
The foremost exhibition of the construction industry, the Architects’ Work and Trade Exhibition, will be ceremoniously opened following the inauguration on 23 February at 8 p.m. at the BMICH. The exhibition will thereafter be open to the public from 24 to 27 February from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The exhibition will feature over 300 stalls with around 260 companies exhibiting their projects and showcasing the latest technologies, building material and products of the industry as well as an Information Centre and Career Guidance Centre. Widely visited, in previous years the exhibition has drawn over 70,000.
The National Conference will be held on 24 February commencing at 9 a.m. Building on the theme, ‘Architecture for all: City + Community,’ chosen in line with the ongoing development projects initiated by the Government, the conference aims to highlight past achievements in community architecture, development of architectural philosophies that shaped neighbourhoods, towns and cities for the enjoyment of all, emerging issues which need creative approached in design and technology, emerging trends in architecture as a response to changing circumstances and formulation of research themes or propositions that could widen the scope of architects’ role in community architecture.
The keynote address is expected to be delivered by Jamie Lerner. Presentations will also made by prominent local and international architects.
With the Government of Sri Lanka focused on rapid development after the end of the conflict, the theme is both timely and relevant, said Archt. Edirisuriya, elaborating on the objectives of the national conference. However, development, especially housing and urban resettlement programmes, needs to be conducted in a planned and systematic manner.
Noting that architects have a greater role to play in such development, he added: “We have ample human resources. We urge the Government to work with architects when developing townships to ensure more planned development.”
Wrapping up the formal sessions will be the Annual General Meeting, on 26 February, where the new council of the SLIA will be elected, with Archt. Ranjan Nadesapillai being inducted as the new President. The sessions will be concluded on a grand scale with the Fellowship Night on 27 February.
As for the future architect, Sri Lanka is well on its way to producing global architects. “At the SLIA, in 2007, we launched a vision to develop the Sri Lankan architect to be a global architect. We are getting there. There are four main attributes that a Sri Lankan architect needs to achieve; excellence in design, management and capabilities and being sound in ethics, which would make the Sri Lankan architect a global architect, where they can practice or compete anywhere in the world,” Archt. Jayantha Perera, Immediate Past President of SLIA, concluded.