One of Europe’s best architects and leading thinkers on the creation of public spaces is visiting Sydney this week to share her experience in designing international award-winning public places.

Founder and principal of UK-based design and architecture studio AL_A, Amanda Levete CBE, is visiting Sydney to meet a range of people from within industry and government to discuss the importance of well-designed public spaces.

The visit includes a presentation to 120 industry leaders tonight as part of the Committee for Sydney event series, drawing on her experience designing such world-class public spaces as the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum in London, and the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT) in Lisbon.

The Stirling Prize-winning architect will share her experience with the architecture and design community as Sydney looks to move the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences to Parramatta.

Levete will also feature on a panel discussion alongside NSW Government Architect Director of Design Excellence Olivia Hyde and Sydney Living Museums Strategy & Engagement Director Dr Caroline Butler-Bowdon, discussing the opportunities for the design of outdoor spaces in rapidly-changing Sydney.

“Public spaces are more important than ever before,” says Levete.

“People want spaces where they can come together and connect. Our most vibrant cities like London, Sydney and Lisbon need to create opportunities to connect people of different nationalities and from different walks of life, with different ideas and different experiences.”

“When you connect people, relationships are formed and thresholds become more about mutual exchange. This is why public spaces need to be at the heart of our cities, our institutions and particularly our museums,” she says.

AL_A’s work to reimagine the V&A broke down the separation between street and museum and unlocked the potential to bring new audiences to the museum and has contributed to a huge increase in visitor numbers.

The MAAT is a stunning museum located on the banks of the river Tagus that reconnects city and waterfront. With more than 500,000 visitors in its first year the MAAT is now Portugal’s most visited museum.

The incorporation of public outdoor space in the two renowned museum projects has succeeded in increasing access to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Some of AL_A’s other notable international work includes the prominent Central Embassy mixed-use retail and hotel complex on Bangkok’s primary commercial artery, the 2015 MPavilion in Melbourne, and the current remodelling of the historic Galeries Lafayette department store in central Paris which balances tradition with modernity.