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President's Message 2017-18

The ARCASIA 2017 year started 14th of January 2017 with our Office Bearers meeting in Islamabad where President Sathirut Nui Tandanand handed over the ARCASIA Presidency to me. While giving me the Chain of office, he whispered an advice to me. He said learn to say NO, while adding he himself has not learnt it yet. The value of this advice was not lost on me as the next 8 months became a flurry of activity and travel all over the globe for ARCASIA and ARCASIA related activities, resulting from our agenda of ARCASIA-Reaching out to other Regions, to share knowledge and vision for the betterment of us all.

An invitation from our dear friend President Harsha Fernando from SLIA Sri lankan Institute of Architects to their annual Architectural Events followed in February 2017 where I was fortunate enough to meet and hear the world-famous Architect Moshe Safdie talk about his ongoing projects and his twin towers under construction in Colombo and many others. The Urbanism discussion and resulting dialogue that followed in this event led to Incoming President Daya Hemantha Wijewardene expressing his interest to host the ARCASIA Training on URBANISM in February 2018 for Young Teachers and Architects from ARCASIA Institutes. Sadly, this was the last that I met Harsha before his untimely demise. (May his soul rest in peace!)

The ACGSA Roundtable on Sustainability and Green in Bangkok was soon to follow on 24th February 2017 and we are grateful to President Ajaphol Dusitnanond that it was hosted by ASA at the Chatrium Hotel in Bangkok. This was followed soon after by our next OB meeting in Singapore on 17th March 2017 for which we are grateful to SIA for their hosting the meeting in Singapore. We had invited IIA President Ar Divya Kush to be able to discuss the ARCASIA FORUM 19 Preparations and Issues in Jaipur since there was a problem with visas to visit the event locations in the host country.

In April 2017 the Jury for AAA-ARCASIA Award for Architecture was held in Kathmandu to be able to accommodate me to also attend as required. An amazing quality of entries made the job of the jury even more challenging. We were able to invite international jurors like Ar. Hyder Ali from Sudan, Ar. Yolanda Reyes from Philippines and Famous Indian Art and Movie Persona Amol Palekar apart from IIA President Divya Kush and his wonderful team and myself.

It was a conversation on building a virtual knowledge bridge between Asia and Europe that led to a breakfast meeting in Hong Kong last year between ACE President Lucianno Lazzari and 6 or 7 of us from ARCASIA. This resulted not only in an invitation from ACE President to attend their Council meeting in May 2017 but also that it will be followed up by a full day European association of Architectural Education event where I could present the ARCASIA vision to the European Architectural Education Fraternity in the Casa Dell’ Architectura in Rome. I was able to present our ARCASIA vision of collaboration and mutual cooperation in areas of Architectural Education, Heritage, Green and Sustainability, Professional Practice, CPD and Social Responsibility which was very well received by all present both at the Architects Council Europe and the EAAE. Many expressed their interest to reach out and join in such collaborative endeavors.

On my way back from Rome I used the opportunity to meet President V4AF Visegrad 4 Architectural Foundation Ar. Erno Kalman in Budapest to explore the proposed MOU between ARCASIA and V4AF. Our positive discussions led to exploring a joint ARCASIA + V4AF Symposium and Roundtable on HERITAGE: Adaptive Reuse of Heritage Structures. This Roundtable was planned and agreed upon to be undertaken jointly and took place almost 4-5 weeks later.

The 19th ARCASIA FORUM took place on the 21st -26th May 2017 in the beautiful city of Jaipur in Northern India. Unfortunately, the 6 months long outstanding visa issues remained unresolved and since no visas from IAP, nor the three of us ARCASIA Office Bearers Hon, Secretary ARCASIA Ramiz Baig, Hon. Treasurer Sannah Ejaz nor myself got any visas, we could not attend a wonderful event. The ARCASIA Council meeting was decided to be moved from India and is now being held in Kathmandu, Nepal on 3rd and 4th of November 2017.

The joint ARCASIA + V4AF Symposium and Roundtable on HERITAGE: Adaptive Reuse of Heritage Structures took place on the 1st of July 2017 at the Klebelsberg Kastély, Buda, Budapest. It was a well-attended Symposium and Roundtable with delegates from 10 ARCASIA (Asian) Countries and 3 of the 4 European Institutes were represented by their Presidents. The Hungarian Government supported the event by sending two representatives that participated as well.

The Successful Roundtable led to a Jointly Signed Resolution between ARCASIA and V4AF. The much encouraged V4AF has invited ARCASIA to hold further such joint events together in mutual areas of interest.

A meeting with the President of the Association of Hungarian Architects (AHA) Mr. Andras Krizsan took place in Budapest with Hon Secretary Ramiz Baig and Myself where, the AHA President was also very keen to undertake joint events with ARCASIA and suggested to start with sending an International exhibition to ARCASIA Institutes and vice versa.

Right after our Roundtable in Hungary, I went to RIBA London as honored by the President RIBA Ar. Jane Duncan to receive the RIBA Presidential Medal at an impressive ceremony at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London. This was followed by a ‘Election Court’ Livery Dinner Jointly Hosted by the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects at the RIBA. On the sidelines of the RIBA events President RIBA convened an International Presidents Breakfast Meeting which was most useful to attempt a synergy in our various International Organizations’ efforts towards attempting to meet the MDGs Millennium Development Goals as a profession. The AIA American Institute of Architects also honored me with an Honorary AIA Membership and The American Institute of Architects Presidential Medal that was received on my behalf by ARCASIA Past President Ar. Tan Pei Ing in Orlando USA for which I am very grateful to her and Ar. Rita Soh, who were both honored guests invited to accompany me by AIA.

Right after our Roundtable in Hungary, I went to RIBA London as honored by the President RIBA Ar. Jane Duncan to receive the RIBA Presidential Medal at an impressive ceremony at the Royal Institute of British Architects in London. This was followed by a ‘Election Court’ Livery Dinner Jointly Hosted by the Worshipful Company of Chartered Architects at the RIBA. On the sidelines of the RIBA events President RIBA convened an International Presidents Breakfast Meeting which was most useful to attempt a synergy in our various International Organizations’ efforts towards attempting to meet the MDGs Millennium Development Goals as a profession. The AIA American Institute of Architects also honored me with an Honorary AIA Membership and The American Institute of Architects Presidential Medal that was received on my behalf by ARCASIA Past President Ar. Tan Pei Ing in Orlando USA for which I am very grateful to her and Ar. Rita Soh, who were both honored guests invited to accompany me by AIA.

This was closely followed by ACAE holding the ARCASIA Roundtable on Architectural Education in Yogyakarta, Indonesia on 17th July 2017 that was held right after the ACAE Architectural Studio Teacher Training by ARCASIA Vice President Zone-C and Master Teacher Trainer Ar. Nuno Soares. We are grateful to President Djuhara of IAI Institute of Architects Indonesia and his amazing team of professionals Young and Younger for the amazing hospitality during our short visit to Indonesia.

We left for our OB Meeting in Kuala Lumpur the day after arriving just in time for the opening ceremony of PAM’s Beautiful New Building. I am extremely grateful to the kind and gracious honor shown to me by PAM President Ezumi Harzani Ismail during the Inauguration of their Building by the Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah who not only accepted an ARCASIA momento from me but also very graciously signed the PAM Building Souvenir for me. It was a big honor to be invited to dine with His Highness for me as well as for Ar. Rita Soh I am sure.

Our successful Office Bearers Meeting was in parallel to the PAM Kuala Lumpur Architectural Festival at KLCC Malaysia. IAI President Ar. Ahmed Djuhara was our invited guest in our OB meeting.

We went to the UIA2017 Congress was held in Seoul, South Korea from 3rd to 10th September 2017. Architects Regional Council Asia, ARCASIA, was a visible presence during the congress due to the successful staging of a seminar jointly hosted with the Architects Council Europe (ACE) “A look into the future of education from Asian and European perspectives”. This was another instance of ARCASIA’s recent initiative towards cross regional cooperation.

The seminar was chaired by myself and President ACE, Lucianno Lazzari. The event was moderated by Honorary Secretary ARCASIA, Ramiz Baig. Notable speakers along with the chairmen included, President UIA - Esa Muhammad, Livio Sacchi from CNAPPC, Arturo Lavalle and Valina Geropanta from Guglielmo Marconi University Italy, Nuno Soares – ARCASIA Vice President Zone C and Mikako Oshima representing Arcasia Committee on Young Architects. ARCASIA also had a booth display in the exhibition hall showcasing ARCASIA Award for Architecture winning entries as well as ARCASIA promotional video and materials. Myself and Honorary Secretary Ramiz Baig represented ARCASIA during the UIA General Assembly. The Honorary Secretary also chaired a UIA paper session on Architectural Theory and History on the sidelines of UIA Congress in Seoul Korea.

It has been a very positively vibrant and busy year for us at ARCASIA, and we look forward to the upcoming ARCASIA: Green and Sustainability Symposium in Dubai 15th, 16th December 2017 followed by the week long ARCASIA: URBANISM training workshop by Prof. Fabio Todeschini in Colombo in February 2018. We hope to have a wonderful attendance at both places from all the member Institutes of ARCASIA. The Arcasia Emergency Architects AEA is being worked on by Joseph Kwan and Rita Soh alongside Nui and remains our much cherished and important project to look seriously at training architects to respond to disasters and coordinate with their respective country NDMAs to become an active post disaster management entity in the aftermath of any such unfortunate incident.

Our Focus this year is ARCASIA reaching outwards to other zones of the world interactively in the areas of Architectural Education, Teacher Training, Urbanism, Heritage, Social Responsibility, Professional Practice, Cross Border Practice and many others as we see appropriate for collaboration. Our Committee for Young Architects needs to be involved in all of these to be able to hone ARCASIA leadership for the next generation in all areas.