Fast Forward 2015 lecture series image of Shanghai Cityscape

Fast Forward 2015 Event as iCalendar

(Creative Events, Architecture and Planning)

12 August 2015 - 14 October 2015


Venue: Engineering Lecture Theatre 439, Building 401

Location: 20 Symonds Street, Auckland CBD

Host: School of Architecture and Planning, NICAI, University of Auckland

Cost: Free

Contact email:

Website: RSVP for Free Ticket


China Now: Architecture and Urbanism



Fast Forward is an annual lecture series hosted by NICAI’s School of Architecture and Planning, running from August - October 2015. Across six evenings, the series aims to bring together prestigious national and international speakers with industry professionals, academics and senior research students to discuss theory, research and issues relevant on both the New Zealand and global scales.

This year’s Fast Forward theme - China Now: Architecture and Urbanism - discusses how the unprecedented Chinese social and economic development of the last few decades has triggered a profound transformation of our conceptions, interpretations and production of both social and physical spatialities. This lecture series offers an insight into emerging critical design and research approaches that propose a fundamental re-framing of the logics governing the contemporary urbanism of new megacities’ spectacular hyper-realities.

Along with the Semester One series Communiqué, Fast Forward has been recognised by the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) as an accredited professional development activity, with each lecture attended earning 10 CDP points.

Fast Forward 2015 is proudly supported by NZIA, The Warren Trust and GIB. 




2015 Programme

Wednesday 12 August

Roberto Bannura, Steven Holl Architects;

Gregor Hoheisel, GRAFT;

Patrick Sloan, Warren and Mahoney

Perspectives on contemporary Chinese architecture and urbanism



Check back soon for the video!

The engagement of global leading design practices in the exceptional Asian urban development of the recent decades has strongly contributed to the production of the numerous outstanding and widely published Chinese architectures.

This inaugural event for the Fast Forward 2015 series will host a panel discussion led by Senior Lecturer Manfredo Manfredini on the problems, opportunities and scenarios of contemporary Chinese architecture and urbanism as discussed by three directors of prominent practices - Roberto Bannura, Steven Holl Architects; Gregor Hoheisel, GRAFT; Patrick Sloan, Warren and Mahoney.

Roberto BannuraDirector of Steven Holl Architects’ Beijing office, will present a selection of completed projects such as Linked Hybrid (Beijing), the Sliced Porosity Block (Chengdu), the Horizontal Skyscraper / Vanke Center (Shenzhen) and the Sifang Art Museum (Nanjing).

Gregor Hoheisel, Director of GRAFT’s office in Beijing office, will introduce the recent developments and future scenario of architecture and urbanism in China and discuss projects from hospitality designs in Beijing, to beach front developments in Dalian, ski resorts at the North Korean border, large scale tourism developments in Yunnan, and city planning on the tropical Island of Hainan as well as various residential and mix use developments across China.

Patrick Sloan, Principal at Warren and Mahoney, has worked with several award winning practices in Australia and China. Patrick will offer an overview of his decade long experience in China by presenting a selection of projects.


Wednesday 19 August

Philip Yuan, Shanghai

Performative Tectonics

Philip Yuan is co-founder of the Digital Architectural Design Association of the Architectural Society of China, and coordinator of the Digital Design Research Center in the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University. His research focuses on digital design and fabrication as discussed in his books, including ‘A Tectonic Reality’ (2011) and ‘Theater Design’ (2012).

'Performative Tectonics' is an architectural design and production methodology that combines studies of the environmental, structural and behavioural characteristics of buildings. With reference to Yuan's recent work in research and practice, this lecture will explore a new aesthetic paradigm that raises ontological questions in architecture.



Wednesday 26 August

Colin Fournier, Hong Kong

The Ideal City

Colin Fournier is Emeritus Professor of Architecture and Urbanism at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, a Visiting Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Chairman of TETRA X, an architectural practice based in Hong Kong.

Colin will discuss ideas about the ideal city and our dreams of which have gone through many successive transformations since the early days of the Renaissance. What are the contemporary ideals that are now driving our attempts to make better cities? In an age of environmental dysfunction and social injustice, what are our new conceptions of the ideal city?


Wednesday 16 September

Wei Chunyu, Changsha

Types and Fractals: Design Based on Landscape Perception

Wei Chunyu is Professor and Dean of the School of Architecture at Hunan University. His research focuses on the typology and morphology of the interfaces found in the regional architecture of Hunan Province. His work has been presented in major international exhibitions, including the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale.

He will discuss his 'fractal' approach to design and his development of new solutions to contemporary architectural problems through studying the heterogeneous landscapes, traditional settlements, and transformation through time of Hunan Province. His work seeks to produce 'terrain shaped configurations' that engage with context while also meeting contemporary requirements.


Thursday 24 September

John Zacharias, Beijing

The Urban Planning of New Cities in China

John Zacharias is a Professor in Urban Planning at the College of Architecture and Landscape of Peking University. He trained as an urban planner in Canada and advises on urban planning in China, where more than 20 million rural residents are moving each year into mostly new "cities" in the largest and most developed urban regions. Existing cities are currently looking to build an integrated economic region however the urban planning strategies tend to support autonomy.

This lecture examines these strategies and questions - how do they differ from earlier ones and to what extent are they sustainable?


Wednesday 14 October

Xuelin Zhou and Laurence Simmons, Auckland

Chinese Urban Cinema

Contemporary Chinese cinema devotes great attention to the county’s changing urban condition, documenting the current exceptional transition in architecture and urbanism. An introduction to the context and production of works by the sixth generation and beyond will frame the presentation of excerpts from films by Jia Zhangke, the leading figure of the "Urban Generation" of the Chinese independent cinema.

Xuelin Zhou is a Senior Lecturer in Media, Film and Television at the University of Auckland. His research interests include Chinese popular culture, in particular Chinese-language cinemas from Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China. He has published ‘Young Rebels in Contemporary Chinese Cinema’ (2007) which discusses the cinematic representation of marginalised youth in East Asia.

Laurence Simmons is Professor of Film Studies at the University of Auckland. He has written widely on New Zealand film and has published a book on contemporary New Zealand painting and photography, 'The Image Always has the Last Word' (2002).