Fast Forward explores vital role of architecture and urban planning

15 July 2016
Future Islands LR Photo by David St George.
Future Islands. Photo by David St George

As Auckland grapples with an unprecedented housing crisis and aging infrastructure, urgent questions are being asked, both here and globally, about how to improve livability?

The upcoming Fast Forward Spring lecture series will bring together renowned practitioners in the fields of architecture, urban planning and urban design to explore these pressing issues and present solutions.

Hosted by the School of Architecture and Planning, at the University of Auckland, the series aims to foster discussion and debate.

Starting next week, the first event features University of Auckland Architect-in-Residence Bjarne Mastenbroek from the Netherlands, who will explore the role and responsibility of contemporary architecture for its surroundings. Named Dutch Architect of the Year in 2009, Bjarne will outline the importance of intelligent and grounded spatial planning.

The following week Jos de Krieger, also from the Netherlands, will introduce ‘superuse’, or social design solutions using existing resources, materials and systems, as a way to create a sustainable society and limit environmental impact.

In August, Nelson-based architect Jeremy Smith of Irving Smith Architects will present projects from the firm’s exhibition at the 2015 Prague International Architecture Festival and question what ‘finished’ means?

Then Kathy Waghorn, Associate Creative Director of the NZ Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, will discuss Future Islands, which opened in May. Here architecture is presented as a series of metaphorical islands, bringing together a wide range of local projects to represent the diversity, fluidity and the ever-changing conditions of contemporary New Zealand architecture.

Keeping with a female perspective Christina van Bohemen, President of the NZ Institute of Architects alongside Chief Executive Officer Teena Hale Pennington will discuss key issues facing the profession today and their vision for its future direction.

Ahead of the upcoming Auckland Mayoral Election, a highlight of the lecture series will be a pre-election debate between Mayoral hopefuls, who will address the issues of housing density, affordability, and urban growth management as one of the most pressing issues facing the Supercity.

Next in the series architect Roger Walker will offer his insights into how architecture can be made affordable and accessible to the widest possible audience.

This is followed by Professor Eduardo Langagne who will present an overview of both historical and contemporary Mexican architecture, and its place in a world.

Then architects Nicholas Stevens and Gary Lawson will discuss the creative process behind the Blyth Performing Arts Centre at Iona College in Hawke’s Bay which was the 2015 recipient of the NZIA Architecture Medal.

The final lecture in the series is by Penny Pirrit, the Director of Regulatory Services for Auckland Council who will reflect on the opportunities and challenges presented by the Auckland Unitary Plan.

Running from mid-July to mid-October events include:

• 20 July – Bjarne Mastenbroek, Amsterdam, Netherlands: Dig it! 6.30pm, Eng. 439, Building 401, 20 Symonds Street.

• 27 July - Jos de Krieger, Rotterdam, Netherlands: Turning available flows and resources into urban ecosystem. 6.30pm, Conference Centre, Building 423, 22 Symonds Street.
• 3 August - Jeremy Smith, Nelson, New Zealand: Is being finished finished? 6.30pm, Eng. 439, Building 401, 20 Symonds Street.
• 10 August – Kathy Waghorn, Auckland, New Zealand: On Future Islands. 6.30pm, Eng. 439, Building 401, 20 Symonds Street.

• 17 August - Christina van Bohemen and Teena Hale Pennington, Auckland, New Zealand: The profession today. 6.30pm, Eng. 439, Building 401, 20 Symonds Street.

• 7 September – Auckland Mayoral Debate: Mayoral candidates discuss the future of Auckland. 6.30pm, Fisher & Paykel Auditorium, Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road.

• 14 September –  Phooey Architects: details to be announced.

• 21 September - Roger Walker, Wellington, New Zealand: Affordable architecture. 6.30pm, Eng. 439, Building 401, 20 Symonds Street.

• 28 September - Eduardo Langagne, Mexico: Mexico today – Architectural expressions of a millennial country. 6.30pm, Eng. 439, Building 401, 20 Symonds Street.

• 5 October - Nicholas Stevens & Gary Lawson, Auckland, New Zealand: The Blyth Performing Arts Centre, Iona College, Hawke’s Bay. 6.30pm, Eng. 439, Building 401, 20 Symonds Street.

• 12 October - Penny Pirrit, Auckland, New Zealand: The Auckland Unitary Plan Experience. 6.30pm, Eng. 439, Building 401, 20 Symonds Street.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information on each event please visit

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