World Architecture Day summit in London

The world’s leading architects, developers and planners will come together for a summit in London on October 1 to discuss critical issues facing current architectural practices and design, particularly the future of cities.

The meeting is being held on World Architecture Day, hosted by World Architecture News in partnership with the International Union of Architects.

World Architecture News (WAN) is an online global resource for the architectural community. Since its inception in 2005, it has provided invaluable information to its readership of nearly a quarter of a million architect, designers, engineers and others.  In addition, the various WAN Awards recognise design excellence from around the world.

The International Union of Architects is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to uniting architects across the globe.  Founded in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1948, it now represents over one million architects in 124 countries and seeks to improve human habitats through architecture and technology.

The theme for World Architecture Day is ‘Architects are city changes’, chosen as a response to increasing global populations and the crucial role of architects in evolving the urban fabric to accommodate citizens of the 21st century. The theme also attempts to build upon ‘Better cities, better lives’, a global urban development campaign initiated by the United Nations.  World Architecture Day provides an ideal platform to discuss how best to implement the necessary changes to develop resilient and sustainable cities of the future.

“World Architecture Day provides an unparalleled opportunity for leaders across the industry to connect, exchange ideas, share best practices and drive innovation,” says Programme Director Michael Hammond.  “The event won’t be in London next year, so this is the perfect chance for the architectural community  to come together and start envisaging the future of our cities across the world.”

The London meeting’s agenda includes such issues as urban regeneration, the future of design within health and education, and the function of civic, commercial and residential buildings.

The meeting will also see the launch of the world’s first-ever iPad City, a digital resource designed for architects to exclusively unveil their latest plans and projects, and also reveal ideas for the future of the urban landscape.  It  is hoped that the individual projects displayed on each device will combine to form a unique virtual city.

Achal Narayanan

Slowdown: Office space demand drops 32 pc in H1

The current global slowdown, which has forced multinationals to consolidate their overseas operations, has resulted in a significant decline in the absorption level of office space in the country.

On an average, the absorption of office space during H1 of 2012 declined 32 percent, experts say.

“The main reason is the global slowdown and the still lingering Eurozone uncertainty. This has forced multinationals to consolidate their operations here. As a result, there was very little activity in the sectors which largely attract international firms,” CBRE South Asia chairman and managing director Anshuman Magazine told PTI. According to global real estate adviser DTZ, only 13.3 million sqft of office space was absorbed in H1 against 19.7 million sqft in the same period last year.

DTZ chief executive Anshul Jain said there is a direct correlation between economic performance and the demand for commercial office space. The domestic economy is facing difficulties on several fronts. “Fall in take-up is largely due to the cautious stance adopted by the key IT/ITeS and BFSI sectors, since their order books have taken a hit,” Jain added.

Besides the fall in demand for office space, a slowing supply addition in the January-June period resulted in reduction in absorption across cities, Jones Lang LaSalle research head Ashutosh Limaye said, adding that market saw a steep 52 percent decline in fresh supply during the period. “Slowing supply addition in the first half compared to the year-ago period is one of the reasons for slowing absorption across cities,” Limaye said, adding that poor sentiment is likely to continue in the second half. “We are not seeing much activity happening in the segment even in the second half. We will not see as much absorption as we saw in 2011.