Ulster Hall Group Space, Bedford Street, Belfast

Conference: Architecture and Construction Innovation

PLACE Conference Series: Creativity and Innovation in Construction

Wednesday 9th February 2011 Group Space, Ulster Hall, Bedford Street, Belfast

On Wednesday 9th February the second of three conferences promoting creativity and innovation took place in the Ulster Hall Group Space. The conference focused on the material solutions which could lessen our environmental impact and foster economic development in Northern Ireland and featured keynote presentations by Michael Pawlyn and Sam Tyler.

Several topics in the areas of Construction and Global Markets were covered during the morning’s first session. Dr Vicky Kells from Invest NI talked about her work in helping construction companies and architectural firms enter new markets and meeting their individual requirements. Operations Director of McMullen Architectural, Rose Mary Stalker then discussed the opportunities and risks of emerging markets through her professional experiences.

Next up Patrick Daly talked about the most recent information from the Irish Environmental Protection Agency. Danny McPolin from Queens University then presented an interesting and innovative idea involving creative bridge technology. Dr Ali Nadjai from University of Ulster introduced the audience to the most recent and innovative solutions in construction fire safety.

Just before lunch Michael Pawlyn, the keynote speaker, from Grimshaw architects and Exploration group focused on environmentally sustainable and innovative projects that take their inspiration from nature. He believes that treating nature as a blueprint is a way to develop and enhance the existing environment and human surroundings, especially in terms of current climate change effects.

Michael explained to PLACE that "imitating natural systems is about trying to mimic the amazing effectiveness of ecosystems, where the waste from one system or animal is used as the nutrients for another. Often, by applying ideas from ecosystems you can turn problems into solutions that are better both environmentally and commercially”

Michael’s keynote talk explained the Sahara Forest Project inspired by the Namibian fog-basking beetle’s ability to create its own fresh water. He also delved into the fascinating story of the Eden Project in Cornwall known globally as "a living theatre of people and plants". Both are cited as great examples of mimicry as a process of resolving human challenges.

After a lunch break our final key note speaker, Sam Tyler of Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios took to the stage and focused on the utilising innovative construction methods to create exciting and creative buildings. During the presentation Sam focused on the Woodlands Trust's Headquarter Building.

The Creativity and Innovation in Construction series was made possible thanks to kind support from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.


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