Attendees heard speakers from around the globe talk about timber, upside-down buildings, structural challenges in seismic zones, wind whistles, carbon reduction, building re-use and everything in between to achieve excellence. It was hard to choose among the many sessions taking place in each track! The closing plenary helped us envision the future of excellence and vertical urbanism and the evening ended with the awards ceremony and dinner in which the category winners from the two-day presentations and deliberations were announced. Off-site tours to new and historic buildings in Chicago closed out an incredibly successful conference!
11 November- Closing Keynote Plenary
In the closing plenary, “The Future of Excellence: Dreams and Realities of a Better World,” 2022 Fazlur R. Khan awardee Hanif Kara, Director at AKT II Limited, stated, “I’m very optimistic. Looking under the hood, I’m convinced that excellence is connected to the new realities of this group of people who are hyper-connected…the matter right now is transdisciplinary, which is not easy to practice.” Christopher Sharples, Partner at SHoP Architects, and David Malott, Founder of AI SpaceFactory and AI PlanetWorks, continued this conversation by expounding on responsive building systems, sustainability, and climate adaptation, eventually taking the audience to building on the Moon. As a representee of the future generation, 14-year-old Changsub Lee from Seoul gave us a glimpse of aspirational living in vertical urbanism.
11 November- Awards Ceremony and Dinner
The awards ceremony recognized the 2022 Lifetime Achievement awardees and fellows along with the eagerly awaited jury selections for the overall winners of each category and the regional and worldwide winners.
11 November- Session: Tall Timber
Attendees packed the room and snaked out the door to listen to speakers discuss the research and new approaches in using mass timber. Lisa Podesto, Senior Business Development Manager of Design Build Americas at Lendlease, sums up the session by saying, “It’s not just about reducing the carbon that goes into your building. It’s also about a net-positive carbon outcome for the environment.”
11 November- Session: Towers and the Challenge of Heritage: Context
In this diverse discussion, the element of meaningfulness of place was the thread that tied it all together. The conversation ranged from the viewpoint of structural engineering for seismic and wind performance with projects in Iraq and Austin, to modern planning for historic cities.
11 November- Session:
Sophisticated Density: An Update on TODs, Mobility, and the Idea of Mixed-Use
Speakers in this session discussed designs that can coexist with other urban elements and partnerships. Matthew Pearce, Associate at Mott McDonald, spoke about how transit oriented communities (TOCs) added potential revenue to offset the cost of other infrastructures. The overall discussion was a positive affirmation of how verticality must address the layers of urban living.
11 November- Session: Towers and the Challenge of Context:
“To talk about the future, we have to be damn sure we know where we’ve come from,” speaker Simon Tonks, Associate Partner at RSHP, states to start off the presentations for this session. An exploration of how to look forward included measures to research carbon in buildings, re-use, and building for affordability in this rousing discussion of the industry’s future.
11 November- Session: Rethinking the Vertical City
New ways of looking at density, movement and re-use were presented in this session. Speaker Grant Uhlir, Principal at Gensler, presented the redesign of the Chicago Old Post office and began by saying, “How do we shift our paradigm and perspective? With that in mind, I am talking about the horizontal instead of the vertical.”
12 November- Off-Sites
The last day of the conference closed out with building tours in Chicago. A mix of historic and new buildings were showcased, including the Tribune Tower. Attendees got detailed presentations and expert-led tours for an in-depth look at these extraordinary buildings.