One of the biggest events on the Australian architecture calendar, the National Architecture Conference returns to Sydney this year with a curated program featuring reputed international architects as speakers.

Organised by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA), the conference, titled ‘Praxis: Process. Propositions. Production’ will be held from 4 May to 6 May 2017 at the brand new International Convention Centre in Sydney designed by Hassell + Populous. The stimulating conference program curated by AIA National President Prof Ken Maher and Prof Helen Lochhead explores processes of thought, engagement and action (process, propositions and production).

Defined as the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, PRAXIS involves thinking and making. By examining projects through the lens of design thinking, design process, and design actions, Praxis will weave together reflection and action, profiling the rich and diverse modes of architectural practice globally in today’s world through the work of renowned practitioners spanning diverse locations and modes of practice.


Eva_Castro_Headshot.jpgEva Castro, Plasma Studio, China

Eva Castro has been the director of the Landscape Urbanism Unit at Tsinghua University in Beijing and a visiting professor at the SUDT in Singapore and at the Architectural Association in London, where she has been teaching – as a diploma unit master and co-directing the Landscape Urbanism Master program – since 2003. Castro is co-founder of Plasma Studio and Groundlab. She has been recognised with several awards including the Next Generation Architects Award, the Young Architect of the Year Award and the Contract World Award. Her work is published and exhibited worldwide, including Archilabs ‘Naturalising Architecture’ and various solo exhibitions and art installations at the DAZ (Deutsches Architectural Museum) in Germany and the Architectural Association in London. Plasma Studio and Groundlab were the lead designers for the International Horticultural Fair in Xian, China a 37ha landscape with a wide range of buildings opened in 2011.

Headshot_Rahul_Mehrotra.jpgRahul Mehrotra, RMA Architects, India

Rahul Mehrotra is a practising architect, urban designer, and educator. His firm, RMA Architects, was founded in 1990 in Mumbai and has designed and executed projects for clients that include government and non-government agencies, corporate, as well as private individuals and institutions. The firm has also initiated several unsolicited projects driven by the firm’s commitment to advocacy in the city of Mumbai. Mehrotra is a professor of urban design and planning at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and has written and lectured extensively on architecture, conservation, and urban planning in Mumbai and India. His writings include co-authoring Bombay - The Cities Within, Banganga - Sacred Tank, Public Places Bombay and Bombay to Mumbai - Changing Perspectives. He has also co-authored Conserving an Image Center - The Fort Precinct in Bombay. Based on this study and its recommendations, the historic Fort area in Mumbai was declared a conservation precinct in 1995 - the first such designation in India. His recent books are Architecture in India, since 1990 and The Kumbh Mela – mapping the ephemeral mega city. In 2016 he co-curated an exhibition – The State of Architecture – Practices and Processes in India, which showed at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai.

Sheila_John_Headshot_Credit_Amelia_Stein.jpgWiny Maas, MVRDV, Netherlands

Winy Maas is an architect, urban designer and landscape architect and one of the co-founding directors of the globally operating architecture and urban planning firm MVRDV, based in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The firm is known for projects such as the Expo 2000, the vision for greater Paris, Grand Paris Plus Petit, and more recently the Market Hall in Rotterdam. He is furthermore professor at and director of The Why Factory, a research institute for the future city, he founded in 2008 at TU Delft. He is currently Visiting Professor at GSAPP Columbia, New York and IIT Chicago and has been at the University of Hong Kong, Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, ETH Zurich, Berlage Institute, MIT, Ohio State and Yale University. In addition he designs stage sets and objects, and was curator of Indesem 2007. He curates exhibitions, lectures throughout the world and takes part in international juries.

In 2013 Winy Maas joined the Economic Development Board of Rotterdam (EDBR). In 2012 he was appointed urban supervisor for the city of Almere and since 2003 he has been supervising the Bjørvika urban development in Oslo, Norway.

With both MVRDV and The Why Factory he has published a series of research projects.

Winy-Maas_Headshot_Photo-Credit-MVRDV.jpgSheila O’Donnell & John Tuomey, O’Donnell + Tuomey, Ireland

Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey met while they were studying architecture at University College Dublin and have worked together as O’Donnell + Tuomey for almost 30 years. They have been involved with urban design, cultural, social and educational buildings, and housing projects in Ireland, the Netherlands, the UK and Hungary. The Dublin-based practice has developed an international reputation for its engagement with complex urban situations and sensitive landscapes. They have exhibited three times at the Venice Biennale, and been shortlisted six times for the Mies van der Rohe Award and five times for the RIBA Stirling Prize. In 2015 they received the RIBA Royal Gold Medal.

Buildings include Glucksman Gallery, Cork; Sean O’Casey Community Centre, Dublin; Timberyard Social Housing, Dublin; Lyric Theatre, Belfast; London School of Economics Student Centre; St. Angela’s College, Cork; and Central European University, Budapest. They are working on a new cultural and education quarter in Stratford, East London, which includes new buildings for the Victoria and Albert Museum and Sadler’s Well Theatre, and on an Academic Hub and Library for the Dublin Institute of Technology. Both are Professors at UCD and have lectured in Europe, the UK, Japan and the USA. They were elected honorary fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 2010. They are both members of Aosdána.