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Credit: Foster + Partners
Talks and lectures

RIBA Global Small Talks Expo 2020 Dubai: Iconic UK design

As part of the Expo 2020 Dubai, we are delighted to be hosting this Global Small Talks event focussing upon excellence in global architecture and the high calibre work of UK architectural practices.

As part of the RIBA's established and ongoing Global Small Talks series, this special event will put the work of several esteemed UK RIBA Chartered architectural practices into focus. Each has produced a landmark scheme for the Expo and the event will celebrate these, going into detail about their design and delivery.

Join us on Thursday 30 September 2021 for what promises to be a unique insight into the workings of some of the UK's most revered and celebrated practices. We are joined by Chair Joanna Bacon and speakers Gerard Evenden of Foster + Partners, Andrew Whalley of Grimshaw and Simon Fraser of Hopkins Architects.

Chair: Joanna Bacon, Partner, Allies and Morrison

Jo is an Architect, managing partner at Allies and Morrison and most recently partner in charge of 100 Bishopsgate, leading a collaborative team on a highly complex project comprising a tower and neighbouring buildings in the City of London for ten years. She particularly enjoys working with commercial clients and has valuable experience gained from delivery of major projects including BBC Media Village in White City as well as urban studies and masterplans at London Victoria and Regent Street. Jo’s past work includes several key education projects: new graduate housing for Newnham College, Cambridge and the construction of two buildings for the University of Cambridge's Sidgwick Site – the Faculty of English and Institute of Criminology.

Jo is also actively involved in fostering architectural culture. At RIBA, she is Chair of the Awards Group and now serves as an RIBA Board Member. Jo chaired the RIBA Gender Pay Working Group which produced the report #CloseTheGap in 2018. She was shortlisted for the AJ’s Woman Architect of the Year Award in 2015 and is a Trustee of the Architectural Association Foundation and of the Climate Crisis Foundation - the Global Returns Project.


‘Alif’ The Mobility Pavilion - Gerard Evenden, Senior Partner, Foster + Partners

Step into the future where smart cities are created through artificial intelligence, big data, robotics, machine learning and autonomous transport. Learn about the complexity of moving goods around the world and how mobility could evolve in the human-centred city of the future.

Speaker: Gerard Evenden, Senior Executive Partner, Head of Studio BSc, BArch (Dist), RIBA

Gerard Evenden joined the practice in 1991 and is now Head of Studio and part of the Design Board. Gerard has been responsible for a number of schemes in the United Arab Emirate Reem Island Residences, Sheikh Zayed National Museum, The Index, World Trade Center Souk and Masdar City. His team has developed the design of modular housing for manufacture and distribution in large numbers and realised a prototype in Abu Dhabi. The theme of sustainability that runs through these projects is also demonstrated by two UAE Pavilion’s designed for the Shanghai and Milan World Expo’s, which were constructed in China and Milan respectively, and subsequently dismantled and relocated to a permanent home in Abu Dhabi. He is also leading the Circular Quay Tower, which will include the highest commercial floorplate in Australia. Gerard is also responsible for a number of significant masterplans and high rise tower projects in Thailand and China. Gerard’s current work includes Coral Bloom, an ambitious regenerative tourism project on the Red Sea coast, two airports in the Middle East and the Mobility Pavilion at the 2021 Dubai Expo the subject of the talk today.

‘Terra’ The Sustainability Pavilion - Andrew Whalley, Chairman, Grimshaw

Terra has the highest available accreditation for sustainable architecture – LEED Platinum certification with 4,912 solar panels, a 130-metre wide canopy and 18 Energy Trees, helping to generate 4GWh of alternative energy per year.

Speaker: Andrew Whalley, BArch (Mackintosh) AA Dipl D.Litt RIBA FAIA FRSA, Chairman

Andrew Whalley has been an instrumental part of Grimshaw since the earliest days of the practice and has been Partner in Charge of projects in diverse sectors including education, performing arts, transportation, and workplace. His award-winning projects include the International Terminal at Waterloo, the Eden Project in Cornwall, the redevelopment of the historic Paddington Station in London and the Experimental and Performing Arts Building in Troy, New York. In 2001 Andrew established the Grimshaw New York studio. He was Partner in Charge of Grimshaw’s New York office during its first ten years. During this time Grimshaw in New York was one of eight architectural practices selected for major public projects under Mayor Bloomberg’s design excellence program.

In the education and cultural arts sector, Andrew has been involved in a range of projects including - state of the art science facilities for the Danforth Science Center; the strategic plan for the Royal College of Art in London. He is currently overseeing The Sustainability Pavilion for the Dubai World Expo 2020. An ambitious project to create a totally net zero building as a centrepiece for the expo.

Andrew has been involved with academia for many years. In the UK this has included several years teaching at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College’s Industrial Design Department. In addition, Andrew ran a unit at the Architectural Association for three years and lectured at University College London for over five years. In the US, he has been a visiting Professor at Washington University and regularly lectures at UPenn. Andrew recently completed his appointment as Adjunct Professor at the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, Politecnico Milano.

Andrew was appointed as Deputy Chairman in 2011 and succeeded Sir Nicholas Grimshaw as Chairman in June 2019; the Chairman’s Office is responsible for managing the practices core design ethos, brand identity and working to build relationships and to strengthen the profile of around the world.

Andrew is a registered member of the AIA and RIBA and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2006. In April 2019 he was elected to the board of the British Architectural Library Trust.

He was elected to the AIA College of Fellows for Design in 2019 and awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from his alma mater, The Glasgow School of Art. The Consortium for Sustainable Urbanisation honoured Andrew with their 2021 Champion Award He is qualified as an architect in the UK and USA and has been with Grimshaw since 1986.

Thematic Distracts - Simon Fraser, Principal, Hopkins Architects

Inspired by Expo 2020’s subthemes, Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, the petal-shaped districts include 86 buildings that will be used for some Country Pavilions as well as the main food and retail outlets.

Simon Fraser, Principal at Hopkins Architects, will present his approach to design and Hopkins’ contribution to architecture in the United Arab Emirates and the Thematic Districts for Dubai Expo. Hopkins Architects’ Dubai office was established over fifteen years ago and has delivered key projects which form part of modern Dubai. These include Gate Village at Dubai International Finance Centre, the Thematic Districts at Expo 2020 and One Central at Dubai World Trade Centre. In addition, the studio oversees projects in the wider Middle East, Europe and the Far East.

Please note this event will be recorded.

Watch all the previous events on the Global Small Talks playlist.