Architectural extremes combine to create visionary Ecobuild conference

A provocative and controversial conference programme that illustrates the diversity of modern design and the extremes of architecture has been announced by Ecobuild.

From the role of architecture in world class infrastructure projects, to the need for more legislation to bring out the best in design to how to build on the moon, the programme is set to explore the nation’s diverse architectural landscape.

Visitors to Ecobuild will get the chance to rub shoulders with industry experts and the biggest architectural practices in the UK, and examine some of the most interesting and innovative projects and products that are pushing boundaries and driving the industry forward.

Speakers including Sadie Morgan, Founder of dRMM and chair of the HS2 Design Panel, Simon Allford of Sterling Prize winners AHMM, Xavier de Kestelier of Foster & Partners, and writer, journalist, essayist and film-maker, Jonathan Meades. Stephen Fry will also by interviewed by broadcaster Will Gompertz at the culmination of the conference programme.

The audience can expect to hear Fry’s forthright and entertaining views and insights around issues close to his heart – areas that will resonate with the Ecobuild audience. The session will afford audience members a rare opportunity to ask questions in a Q&A session.

Xavier de Kestelier gives one of the day’s more controversial presentations by exploring the horizons of combining science, engineering and architecture to enable building on the moon. Not so much a presentation advocating development on the swathes of land on the moon, rather an exploration of how we could build more efficiently and resourcefully in keeping with existing terrain.

Much-respected and admired in his industry, Jonathan Meades will argue the case for calling time on “laissez-faire” planning. Meades will make the case for more building legislation to enable the creation of better architecture and buildings in this country. It is only with greater control and rigour to planning and architecture that this country can avoid a slide into bland, unimaginative housing development. Jonathan has appeared in more than 50 television shows on predominantly topographical subjects such as shacks, garden cities, megastructures, buildings associated with vertigo, beer, pigs, and the architecture of Hitler and Stalin. His views are never dull.

The architectural infrastructure of the UK’s revolutionary HS2 rail link will also feature in a presentation by Sadie Morgan. Morgan comments:

“Ecobuild is the perfect place to discuss the importance of architecture in world class infrastructure projects. We will discuss how to apply an architect’s focus on good design to major infrastructure projects – perfectly reflecting the events synergy between the two disciplines.”

Timeless design and the role of the architect in masterminding residential developments and communities is the subject of an intriguing speech by Simon Allford, director of Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, winners of this year’s Sterling Prize.

Allford will extol the virtues of the ordinary constructions we see day-to-day, all around us.

Allford comments:

“Extraordinary buildings are also everyday buildings that provide delight each day for everyone who comes into contact with them. And not just for now, but long into the future.”

Ecobuild’s architecture day will be brought to a close by the globally-renowned BD Architect of the Year Awards, with the winners across 13 closely-contested categories announced. All shortlisted entries will be on display at Ecobuild’s DISCOVER bar throughout the show, giving visitors the opportunity to cast their eye over the very best projects completed by the very best practices operating across the UK.

Ecobuild 2016 takes place from Tuesday, March 8th, to Thursday, March 10th at ExCel in London. For further information about Ecobuild 2016 please visit