UWTSD lecturer to address International Architecture symposium on challenges & opportunities during Covid-19


UWTSD Visiting Architecture lecturer Dr Liz Walder will address the online Symposium, “International Perspectives on the Future of Architecture and Urbanism in the Post-COVID Age,” to be held on January 29 and 30.

UWTSD Visiting Architecture lecturer Dr Liz Walder will address the online Symposium, “International Perspectives on the Future of Architecture and Urbanism in the Post-COVID Age,” to be held on January 29 and 30.

The symposium has been organised by Mohammad Gharipour, of Morgan State University, Baltimore and Caitlin DeClercq, of Columbia University, New York. With speakers from 24 countries, Dr Walder, who will be representing UWTSD’s Wales Institute of Science and Art, is the only participant from Wales, and one of just three from the UK.

Dr Walder is an affiliate member of The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)and a former director of Royal Society of Architects in Wales (part of RIBA). She will deliver a paper, ‘The Fall of Starchitecture and the Future of Architectural Practice in the Post-COVID UK,’ during the Design and Interventions session, followed by an open, live Q&A with presenters and audience members.

Dr Walder said: “I am thrilled to represent the University at this international conference, addressing the issues that face architectural practice today. As part of my teaching responsibilities at the university, I have a pastoral role for the well-being of students and being able to forecast trends within their future working environment is key for their student journey and career development. My research for this conference paper will address the future of architectural practice and reference how we, in the post-COVID era, can lead the field for urban survival."

Ian Standen, Programme Director in Architecture at UWTSD said: “It is our belief that architects, and designers have an important role to play in addressing many of the most vexing issues of our time.

“This year the global society faced and is facing a huge challenge of the Covid 19 Pandemic. This has impacted hugely on how we all conduct our lives. During lockdown people have had to work from their homes if at all possible. This has placed pressures on individuals and families about how they use their home with often a clash of conflicting functions such as sleeping, play, eating and general family life.

“The impact can be divided into two camps for everyone, positive and negative. From a positive perspective, it has been a wonderful insight into how resilient people are across almost every industry. We have learned that the entire world has the capacity to shift and pivot to different modes of operation.

“Overnight we found ourselves in a virtual mode of working, and very quickly we were able to not only maintain operation but also in many cases thrive. It has opened up our minds to think long-term about the way we work and how that needs and can change. Employers now have the capacity to consider different ways of working, going forward where flexibility will be at the forefront of people’s selection criteria in terms of where and how they work.

“The focus remains on health and wellness in terms of environment and behaviours. We will see people taking charge of their health and wellness, opting for open spaces, healthier choices, and seeking centralized healthcare access. What lockdown has shown too is the value of private open space - generous balconies, podium landscape and parks outside the home. Architects must aspire to design environments for people that face these challenges.”

Dr Walder is a former graduate of UWTSD’s Lampeter campus where she was awarded a BA in Ancient History & Archaeology. She completed her Master’s in Museum Studies at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London and was awarded a PHD in Architectural History at the School of Architecture, University of Liverpool.

She has presented papers at several international conferences, most recently in February last year at the College Art Association 108th Annual Conference, in Chicago, entitled ‘Women in a World Designed by Men’, where her paper, ‘Invisible women: the absent presence in the roll call of architectural prize winners’ was delivered.

Dr Walder contributed to the publication entitled ‘Surviving the Coronavirus Lockdown and Social Isolation, and wrote ‘History, Design, and Legacy: Architectural Prizes and Medals,’ both of which are available via Wordcatcher Publishing Ltd.

At UWTSD, Dr Walder delivers lecturers in ‘The Modern World’ - looking at the history of architecture through a contemporary perspective to students as part of the BSc Architecture programme. 

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