Japanese architect Kengo Kuma will headline the Australian Institute of Architects’ 2016 regional conference in Townsville next month with support from a host of international and domestic architects.

Taking place from 8 – 11 September, the ‘Evoke’ conference will focus on architecture and ideas that surpass function and connect with the human condition. Using art as an analogy, the program will explore architecture through the experience of light, place, landscape and time, and highlight its ability to alter human experience.

Evoke aims to create a diverse conversation, with speakers from a wide range of backgrounds. Through conversation, the speakers will share projects and philosophies that stimulate the crossover between architecture and art.


profile_bw-2.jpgKengo Kuma – Kengo Kuma and Associates (Japan)

Professor Kengo Kuma is one of the most significant Japanese figures in contemporary architecture, described by Kenneth Frampton as embracing a “time-honoured Japanese awareness of the interplay between nature, culture and time”.

Kuma completed a master’s degree in architecture at the University of Tokyo in 1979 and studied at Columbia University from 1985 to 1986 as a visiting scholar. He established Kengo Kuma & Associates in 1990. 

Anu-Puustinen_640x480-for-web.jpgAnu Puustinen – Avanto Architects (Finland)

Anu Puustinen and Ville Hara are founders of Avanto Architects in Finland. They strive to create architecture that is sustainable in the widest sense of the term.

With works ranging from product design to urban planning, the architects aim to design through an understanding of the users of their projects, in order to create ambiences that evoke an emotional response.


Toan Dinh Nghiem – A21studio (Vietnam)


Vietnamese architect Toan Dinh Nghiem graduated from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Architecture in 2006. After working for a number of companies such as Vo Trong Nghia Architects, Atlas Industries, and DCM Architecture and Engineering, he has worked with A21studio since its establishment in 2009.

Located in Ho Chi Minh City, the small architecture office celebrates and values the beauty and traditional culture of their country. 


Shimuls-pic.jpgShimul Javeri Kadri – SJK Architects (India)

Shimul Javeri Kadri studied architecture in Mumbai at the Academy of Architecture, and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor.

Her interest in an architecture that is meaningful for the India of today, drawing from historical wisdom, but relevant and exciting for the vibrant Indian market, has led to an award winning practice that has commissions as varied as hotels for religious tourism, to a museum for Jainism, to an automobile design studio for Mahindra’s.

KATE-CULLITY_Headshot_bw.jpgKate Cullity – T.C.L (Australia)

Kate is a nationally and internationally recognised and awarded landscape architect and environmental artist, with particular skills in the integration of public art with landscape and urban design. 

Her background in botany and her strong personal interest in horticulture have resulted in her involvement in the planting design of sites through-out Australia. 

Tim_Hay_headshot_bw.jpgTim Hay – Fearon Hoy Architects (New Zealand)

Tim Hay is a founding director of the award-winning Auckland-based firm, Fearon Hay Architects. Established in partnership with Jeff Fearon, their practice is structured to enable their combined involvement in the design and execution of each project.

The design-led studio has grown over the past 17 years to an established practice of 16 people. Fearon Hay’s work is evolving to deliver a diverse set of projects that include bespoke residences, restaurant & hospitality works, commercial offices, private lodges and small hotels. 

AnaPinto_VIDA_bw.jpgAna Maria Pinto & Matthew Flynn – VIDA (Australia and Costa Rica)

From rural Australia and Costa Rica respectively, Matthew and Ana both have an inherent, deep respect for land, and experience has taught them that nothing produces results like the bringing together of great individuals, in-depth analysis, careful listening, good design, shared values and hard work.

In 2010, they founded VIDA on this basis and have spent the intervening years building a client base that shares their vision to design spaces that remake the enduring connection between us, our communities and our habitats.

rbacken_portrait.jpgRobyn Backen (Australia)

Robyn Backen is a Sydney based interdisciplinary artist with a significant national and international exhibition and residency history. Backen’s recent body of work evolves from her research into the acoustics of ancient whispering architecture and their unique communication patterns of sending and receiving.

Some of her major works to date include Weeping Walls at Sydney International Airport, 2001; Delicate Balance, Ballast Point Park for the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, 2009; Walls that Whisper, Museum of Australian Democracy at old parliament house, Canberra 2009.

Rodney_E_Headshot.jpgRodney Eggleston – March Studio (Australia)

Rodney Eggleston is an architect and founding director of March Studio. Eggleston trained and taught at RMIT University, followed by a short but informative two-year stint working for Rem Koolhaas at the Office for Metropolitan Architecture in Rotterdam. He returned to Australia and in 2007 and set up March Studio with French native artist Anne-Laure Cavigneaux (1980).

March Studio represent a new generation of architects in Australia who have been educated in a digital environment but embrace the fundamental elements of making and innovation to realise their projects.