Editor’s comment – February

Now that spring is finally rearing its head, the events season is upon us. If you are attending ecobuild which is fast-approaching at the start of March, you may well be hoping for a newly-invigorated set of debates and exhibitors to learn from and meet, with the event now being in new hands.

Owners Futurebuild Events have secured some lively architectural speakers such as Rowan Moore (architect and writer at The Guardian), Jane Duncan (former RIBA President), and Michael Jones (Foster + Partners), and the conference agenda is looking pretty good. However the question remains of what the event stands for in 2018 – you’ll have to visit the ExCel in March to find out.

‘Showcases’ will put sustainability back at the heart of the event, say the organisers, following industry feedback. Its good that it is reasserting its identity, as many have seen ecobuild as previously having moved further than was healthy away from its roots, towards being an all- things-to-all people mainstream building event. So if you’re keen to hear about a demountable Passivhaus, waste innovation, or BREEAM Awards contenders, or you would like to experience small green spaces that can fit urban sites at the Hive, investigate the Sustainability Showcases.

There does also however seem to be an awful lot of focus on things like district heating and infrastructure, which while undoubtedly important, are not necessarily in many architects’ remit. You’ll need to pick and choose carefully at the vast venue to find what you’re looking for.

Also coming up is an event tightly focused on the application and development of innovative materials in buildings, simply titled Materials for Architecture. Staged by the publishers of this magazine, the event (25-26 April, ILEC Conference Centre, London) has a solid conference lineup including several top 100 architectural practices, plus leading academics and consultants in the field, and product manufacturers innovating in cutting edge materials.

You can find more information, together with details on the keynote speaker (a high profile architect whose name is to be announced imminently), at www.materialsforarchitecture.com

James Parker