The Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) held its Annual Sessions, Architect 2010 in conjunction with the General Assembly and Conference of the Commonwealth Association of Architects (CAA) 2010.
The Annual Sessions of SLIA comprised of several key components: Inauguration, National Conference, Members’ Work and Trade Exhibition, the Annual General Meeting as well as the Fellowship Night.
Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake was the Chief Guest for the Inauguration. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Urban Development and Sacred Area Development, Ferial Ashraff, Minister of Housing and Common Amenities, Dr Rajitha Senarathne, Minister of Construction and Engineering Services and Patali Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources graced the occasion as Guests of Honour.
The event was attended by members of the local and global architectural fraternity. Among those present were Archt Louis Cox, President of the International Union of Architects, Archt Gordon Holden, President, CAA and Archt Mubassar Hussein, President Elect, CAA.
The keynote speech was delivered by Archt Gordon Chong from USA. Scrolls were presented to new members who have entered the profession. In addition, awards were presented in several categories, namely, Design Award, Colour Award, Research Award and Publication Award in recognition of the work carried out by the professionals of the local architectural fraternity during the year. Young talent was also appreciated through the Young Architect of the Year Award and the Product Award was presented with the aim of encouraging local industries.
Further, several local architects were conferred with honours during the Inauguration. Archt Lalith Devendra De Silva was awarded the Honourary Fellowship of SLIA, Professor Nimal De Silva was presented a special award in recognition of the services he has rendered in the field of architectural education and Archt Valentine Gunasekara was awarded the Honorary Membership of SLIA for his contribution towards the field in both professional and educational scopes.
Speaking during the occasion, Archt Chandana Edirisuriya, President, SLIA, stated, “The SLIA Annual Sessions is a celebration of architects. We at SLIA consider the event will create vigour and enthusiasm among the stakeholders of the construction industry. SLIA will act as a catalyst to invigorate the construction industry. It gives opportunities to interact, share knowledge and give a boost to the profession of architecture.”
The two-day National Conference was held under the theme of ‘Architecture: Rethinking Sustainability’. This was a joint conference between the SLIA and CAA. “It has been found through research that more than 60% of the world’s resources are consumed by buildings. Therefore, architects have a leading role to play towards conserving the environment, preserving the natural resources and creating sustainable futures,” said Archt Edirisuriya.
Also speaking during the inauguration, Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake commended the work of architects. “We have had in this country great architects as witnessed by the ruins of the great palaces dating back thousands of years. In recent times too we have had architects of genius whose reputation has been known beyond our shores. The work of a good architect outlives him. There is enough evidence in this country to testify to this fact,” he said. Noting that the National Conference focused on a timely topic, the Prime Minister also urged the architects to include affordability in their deliberations.
Architects from overseas as well as from Sri Lanka made presentations at the National Conference. A student session was also held.
Following the Inauguration, the Members’ Work and Trade Exhibition was declared open by Geethanjana Gunawardena, Minister of Housing Development.
The exhibition featured over 300 stalls with around 200 companies linked to the industry displaying their products and services at the Trade Exhibition while the Members’ Work Exhibition saw the work of more than 80 architects. The student exhibition featured the work of students from two schools of architecture – the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Moratuwa and the City School of Architecture, Colombo. Expressing his views on the exhibition, Archt Edirisuriya pointed out that this exhibition is the best platform through which the latest technologies and trends of the field can be promoted to the public.”