Duke of Gloucester to open international architecture conference

Tuesday, 09 December 2008

His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester is to open the 20th anniversary IASTE conference.

His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester is to open an international architecture conference hosted by Oxford Brookes on Friday 12 December 2008.

Two hundred and twenty five delegates from all over the world will attend the conference, which marks the 20th anniversary of The International Association for the Study of Traditional Environments (IASTE).

Organised in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley, this is the first time that IASTE has held its conference in the UK. The event is held bi-annually in locations around the world, including most recently Hong Kong, Dubai and Bangkok.

The four day conference brings together specialists working in the fields of traditional architecture, historic conservation, sustainability, heritage management and architectural regeneration.

Delegates will have the opportunity to visit Oxford’s regeneration projects such as Oxford Castle, where the closing ceremony will be held and sites in the Cotswolds such as Filkins where weaving workshops and a stone masonry have brought new life to converted barns. Delegates will also visit one of Europe’s biggest urban regeneration project at London’s Kings Cross.

The conference will address international issues including how fundamentalist regimes use traditional architecture to achieve their aims; it will explore whether after disasters such as the Tsunami, survivors need tradition in architecture to make sense of their world.

The conference aims to unite the often warring architectural factions of modernists and traditionalists. Dr Marcel Vellinga, Senior Lecturer in Vernacular Architecture in the School of the Built Environment at Oxford Brookes commented: “Architecture is very much focused on the contemporary and modern, while conservation architects are of course interested in historic buildings. The conference aims to show the importance of the issue of regeneration; to use what we have already and give it a new function combining the modern and the traditional, not opposing the two. It is more sustainable to build on what we have than to knock it down and build anew.”