The Inauguration Ceremony of the ‘Architect 2014′, marked the inception of the 32nd Annual Session of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA). The red letter day was made doubly significant as President Mahinda Rajapaksa graced the occasion as the Chief Guest along with other distinguished guests including Ministers, Members of the Parliament, Government officials, eminent speakers of the National Conference, members of SLIA, allied professionals and other invitees. The official theme of Architect 2014, was “Architecture Envisioning Futures”.
Delivering the welcome address Archt Prof Chitra Weddikkara, President—SLIA while thanking the President of the Land for bringing peace to the Island which had suffered through civil strife made the following comment on the current construction boom, “many know that the yard stick or the barometer of any economy is the construction industry (how many tower cranes are there in the horizon?)”.
The distinguished gathering was also addressed by Dr Chris Nonis, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in UK and Archt Prof Alan Pert from Australia delivered the keynote address.
The highlights of the event were Past President Archt Mihindu Kirthiratne being felicitated for his extensive services to the profession by being conferred with the Gold Medal and Archt Suranjith de Silva inducted as an Honourary Fellow Member. The presentation of scrolls to the newly elected members and the presentation of awards of excellence in the field of architecture to members of SLIA were also conducted during the ceremony. The awards recognised exceptional design abilities, use of colour and honoured outstanding design in various categories of construction. In addition, product awards were presented to the best locally manufactured items. This was an incentive to local entrepreneurs to improve quality as well as to innovate locally manufactured products.
Additionally, awards were made for the best designed newspaper supplement that had been published to mark the Inauguration in Sinhala, Tamil and English. The unique factor of this event was that the SLIA awards contribute to the improvement of all stakeholders of the construction industry and the event.
Archt Harsha Fernando, Senior Vice President—SLIA made the concluding remarks in his vote of thanks while the Members’ Works and Trade Exhibition was ceremonially declared open soon after.