By Sahar Saqlain
The Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA) celebrated 50 years as a landmark event from 15th-18th June 2015 in London, hosted by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Several dignitaries graced the occasion. Council Meeting of CAA was held on 15th June 2015 at Council Chambers of RIBA London (Photos 1 to 3). Earlier CAA President had requested Institute of Architects Pakistan (IAP) to host the CAA Robert Matthew Award which the IAP graciously agreed to host. The main highlight of the council meeting was the presentation given by Ar. Kalim A. Siddiqui on the CAA Robert Matthew Award for 2015 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the CAA.
The Robert Matthew Award was established in 1982 to commemorate CAA’s founder Sir Robert Hogg Matthew. It recognizes innovative contributions to the development of architecture in the Commonwealth context. The award is given out every three years to an architect or architectural office making the most outstanding contribution having a particular relevance to the country or region in which the architect or architectural office operates. CAA has announced the Robert Matthew Award for 2015 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the CAA and has asked for One Nomination from each of its Member Organizations (MO). IAP will be sending its One Nomination to the CAA by December 30th, 2015 for which it has already sent a “Call for Entries” to its members for which the submissions are to be made at the IAP National Council. IAP will also be hosting the event at Lahore in March 2016 during the IAP-Ex 2016 events. It will be an honour for IAP to invite delegates from within the Asian region as well as from the Commonwealth countries at large. The award also holds attraction for Pakistan as Sir Robert Matthew has served in the early 60’s as an advisor to the CDA Islamabad design team.
The CAA Golden Jubilee Celebrations event also included a two day International Summit on “Designing City Resilience” hosted by RIBA on behalf of CAA. The event was organized to support and bring world-class thinking to the current and future challenges faced by cities around the world. The topics under discussion on the 1st day of the summit included Defining Urban Resilience in association with urban age, city spotlight Barcelona, city spotlight Bristol, designing places for people, introduction to City Resilience Challenge followed by a workshop to tackle challenges and work on resilience visions for different scenarios based around the globe and a session on the role of technology in improving resilience.
The topics under discussion on the 2nd day of the summit included city resilience: vision- strategy- barriers and lessons so far, creating long term value through innovative city investment strategies, city spotlight: New York city, climate change and shocks to the system: risk management strategies that create opportunity for cities followed by a workshop on City Resilience Challenge and presentations on City Vision. The City Resilience Challenge was a workshop based initiative in which participants came together to address the real life challenges faced by cities and collaborated to establish a vision for city resilience alongside a strategy for achieving it. The exercise focused on the challenges posed to cities around the globe by the stresses of mass urbanization, climate change, and other unexpected shocks to the system.
The summit brought together the fundamental clusters involved in the design, construction, development, infrastructure, leadership, finance, technology and communications of a city. Alongside an international exchange of ideas, the summit provided the opportunity to devise strategies that will facilitate them to advocate and implement meaningful principles to make better cities capable of coping with the stresses of mass urbanization, climate change and unexpected shocks to the system.
An International student competition on ‘Visualizing the Future of the City’ was also arranged under the same platform. The topic of the competition attracted 33 entries from countries as far afield as Japan, Canada, South Africa, and Colombia to name a few. The Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA) and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) announced the winners of the international student competition at the reception on the evening of 16th June 2015.
* The Top prize went to the entry from University of West minster.
* The Second prize went to the entry from Newcastle University.
* The Third prize was jointly awarded to the entry from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and MIE University, Japan.
The MoU Signing Ceremony with the European Council of Architects took place on the 2nd day of the summit followed by a Gala dinner at the Drapers’ Hall London hosted by RIBA.
Ar. Kalim Siddiqui – Vice President Asia Region and Ar. Shahab Ghani from Pakistan attended the CAA General Assembly Meeting on 18th June 2015 at RIBA Council Room at the Commonwealth Secretariat London. The CAA’s Specialist Architects Web Portal was officially launched during the General Assembly meeting amidst the presence of Presidents of all Member Organizations. Stephen Hodder – President of RIBA officially launched the Portal on behalf of all Presidents accompanied by Ar. Rukshan Widyalankara, President CAA.