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8


NEWS


CONFERENCE REVIEW


Material solutions to contemporary problems at Materials 2017


A new conference and exhibition, Materials 2017 made its debut at the end of last month at the ILEC Conference Centre, Earls Court, London, bringing together architects, specifiers, manufactur- ers, and suppliers from across the building materials sector. The event organisers said: “The signifi-


cance of materials is frequently overlooked by the larger trade shows out there,” adding, “we wanted to build a show that would revisit the fundamentals of architec- ture and construction – the materials that we physically build with.” As Ruth Slavid, conference chair and


architectural journalist and editor, said in the run-up to the show; “architects of course talk about form, space, and light, but in order to create those you have to create them with the materials – whether they’re structural materials or the building envelope.” The conference was opened with a timely


keynote from Andrew Boff, chairman of the London Housing Committee, who made a strong case for the potential of pre-fab methods of construction and innovation of materials in this area in disentangling the ongoing housing crisis affecting the capital. “Pre-fab doesn’t equate to bad quality, or bad design,” said Boff, adding, “London’s housing density needs to rival that of Osaka or Rio.” Combining nearly 40 speakers from a


huge variety of backgrounds across acade- mia, architecture, industry, and engineering, the two-day conference moved through the spectrum of architectural materials, examin- ing their various characteristics and functionalities. Following on from Boff’s keynote talk,


Craig Liddell, Legal & General’s CLT (cross-laminated timber) solutions manager, gave a fascinating introduction to his business’ approach to modular off-site construction solutions. Liddell, making the sustainability case for CLT, asserted that “the entire population of Europe, which is 750 million people, could live in a CLT home and we would only require 25-30 per cent of Europe’s forests, being managed, harvested and used in exactly the same way it is today.” Andrew Waugh of Waugh Thistleton


architects, a London-based practice which specialises in the use of CLT, gave a compelling presentation referencing a number of their projects. Waugh (pictured above left) argued for the material’s contri- bution to a “new holistic architecture”, with the design and manufacturing process offer- ing “a much more direct connection between the architect and finished project”. The evening reception brought together


FRIBA Daniel Moylan (co-chair, Urban Design London), John McRae (owner, Orms) Russell Curtis (director, RCKa), and Adam Parker (associate director, Greig &


Stephenson) to debate the impact of Brexit upon the architectural and construction professions. Curtis opened the debate, posit- ing that “cultural exchange is of great benefit to creative industries, especially architec- ture.” McRae conversely argued for the opportunity that Brexit will offer in allowing the architectural sector to regroup, engage with, and influence governmental choices. Complementing the conference, Materials


2017’s exhibition hall was not short of innovative product manufacturers at hand to discuss and advise. Pre-cast concrete stair- cases and patterned finishes, aluminium light- ing products, thermally treated timber, and engineered technical films for facades were just a handful of the materials which took the floor. In addition, galleries from Arup and SCIN showcased some of the latest solutions across a variety of applications.


Waugh argued for CLT’s contribution to a “new holistic architecture” with design and manufacturing offering “a much more direct connection between the architect and the finished project”


WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK ADF MAY 2017


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