RIAS Conference Inverness, Scottish Convention, Eden Court, Venue, Talks

Inverness Conference : Scottish Convention

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, 2007

Inverness Convention

A RETURN TO EDEN? Eden Court Theatre, Inverness:

The RIAS Inverness Convention, in its 22nd year, reported to be the UK’s largest architectural conference

Full RIAS Conference 2002 Review by Isabelle Lomholt:

Inverness – Destination and Destiny
“Invention + Intervention”

A hugely open title which might as well have read ‘Personal sales-pitch’, ‘Free-for- all’ or ‘I am so great’. One could have imagined all the speakers focusing on ‘local materials’ in their work for example. Indeed, this title would perhaps have been more fitting for most of the talks. Something more needed to bind these talks together as the ‘talk’ format limits opportunity for dialogue: audience participation is limited to length of applause so at least the speakers could ‘talk’ to each other. One also felt this part of the Convention could have taken place anywhere: Inverness, the Highlands, Scotland seemed remote topics. One could have imagined this as an opportunity for the RIAS to go one step further, by grounding the issues discussed to the location of the forum. However well done to all the staff at the RIAS and to the three Highland Councils involved for arranging such a successful event – look forward to Stirling 2003.

Summaries (bite-sized):

Nick Grimshaw

Nick Grimshaw rated all his projects by success on circular diagrams including points like ‘Human Impact’, ‘Traffic Impact’ and ‘Flora + Fauna Impact’, all green issues. He ended with the ‘Eden Project’ which was described in more detail.

Stoke-on-Trent design

Fior talked of her bench-building project to build bridges in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, where the use of pottery being particular to the site was used in an unusual but rooted way. Projects in St. Albans and East London were also covered.

Moshe Safdie

Moshe Safdie talked in a well-rehearsed fashion about a handful of worldwide projects ranging from New York skyscrapers to Holocaust Memorials and Museums in Israel.

Mark Walker house

Mark Walker gave a not-so-well-rehearsed talk with slides not really giving away too much and words giving away less. Walker didn’t seem able to sell himself, but presented slides of other architects’ work. He then talked at great length of his own private house in an estate agent/developer kind of fashion: perhaps he was desperate to sell.

Millennium Bridge Newcastle

Chris Wilkinson was deservingly proud of his own and his colleagues’ achievements in the world of building technology, using examples such as the Hulme Arch bridge in Manchester, the unbuilt Merryhill multiplex cinema and again unbuilt bridge in northern Greece. He ended with two exceptional projects – the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Newcastle and the Stirling Prize 2002 winner, the Magna Centre, Rotherham.

the Faeroes

After a short mid-afternoon tea break we all came back to hear a refreshing Arni Winther from the Faeroes. Arni captured us all with his dry humour and wit. He seemed to take himself less seriously, yet he had a good variety of projects to show: both his own projects and those of his fellow islanders. his talk was very much centred around the use of local materials or lack of the same.

Alvaro Siza

At the very end of the day Alvaro Siza talked to us about only one project, but in great detail: Santa Maria, his catholic church in northern Portugal. Siza’s talk was a dialogue between his early childhood memories of what going to church was all about, and what his Clients wanted.


I missed the first two talks, but heard that Tom Heneghan‘s went well: two of his projects are shown above.

Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland: 0131 229 7545

Inverness Conference Review by Adrian Welch

Location: Inverness, Scotland

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