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RSAW announces programme for 25th Annual Conference

02 October 2018

A converted chapel in Cardiff city centre will be the venue for a landmark architectural conference attended by 150 architects and guests this autumn. On Friday 30 November, the Royal Society of Architects in Wales (RSAW) will mark 25 years of national debate on architecture and the built environment with an unflinching and far-reaching exploration of the role and responsibilities of the architect in today’s rapidly changing world. The conference theme The Value of the Architect will explore the core obligations that a responsible professional should embrace and the impact these can have on society and the planet.

The RSAW President Carolyn Merrifield said: “The Presidents of the five architecture institutes in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland have issued a joint statement, agreeing five shared principles, the first of which is placing public interest and value to society at the heart of everything architects do. Our conference will address these fundamental issues and will demonstrate how architects play a crucial role in delivering the aim of the Welsh Government’s Wellbeing of Future Generations Act to create a vibrant and prosperous Wales for everyone.”

The construction industry has come under close scrutiny following the Grenfell Tower fire, with procurement processes, lines of responsibility and reporting, and the roles of individual professions all being re-assessed as part of the post-disaster analysis committed to preventing such a tragedy recurring. Conference delegates will hear about practical proposals such as the report by the Construction Leadership Council in England urging a ‘whole life integrated approach to procurement’, presented by report author Ann Bentley.

Examples of practices bringing together communities through their projects will be illustrated by Leeds-based practice Bauman Lyons and the new ‘arts and markets’ venue in Wrexham – Tŷ Pawb - by architects Featherstone Young. Further highlights of the programme include a response to the conference theme by the President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Benjamin Derbyshire and the findings of the RIBA’s Ethics and Sustainable Development Commission presented by Alasdair Ben Dixon. Keeping time as Chair will be Robin Nicholson of Cullinan Studio, reprising his role chairing the very first RSAW Conference in Llandrindod Wells in 1994.

Architects in Wales have a record of sharing best practice with other parts of the UK and wider; and in the 2018 conference this takes the form of guest speakers from Ireland and Scotland. The President of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) David Browne, will give an Irish perspective on the qualities of leadership, innovation and creativity, while Scottish architect Richard Murphy will present the conference finale, the ‘Inspiration Hour’, sharing experiences of a detailed career spanning across multiple sectors.

The 25th anniversary conference is co-hosted for the third consecutive year by headline sponsor Rockpanel Group, heading up an invited exhibition of specialist architectural technical providers and services.


  1. The RSAW 25th Annual Conference The Value of the Architect is at Cornerstone,
    Charles Street, Cardiff on Friday 30 November 2018, 09.30am to 5.15pm.
  2. Booking for the conference is now open. Advance booking rate (£99) for RSAW (RIBA) members until 31 October; non-members £140; students £50, all prices plus VAT;
    block booking discounts available. Contact Mary Wrenn, Thomas Webb or David Rossington on 029 2022 8987;
  3. RSAW is the RIBA in Wales. We champion better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members. RSAW represents around 650 Chartered Architects in Wales. See for further information.

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