Hilary Benn to deliver his first lecture to the architecture profession


The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is pleased to confirm that the Rt. Hon Hilary Benn MP, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) will be delivering his first direct address to the architecture profession about climate change at the RIBA on Wednesday 28 October 2009. His speech is a highlight of the ongoing International Dialogues: Architecture and Climate Change lecture series, sponsored by Gleeds.

In this high profile keynote speech Mr Benn will focus on the essential issue of adaptation – for homes, commercial buildings and infrastructure – in reference to the DEFRA’s UK Climate Projections (UKCP09) which provides information on the possible future climate. UKCP09 shows we can expect warmer and wetter winters, hotter and drier summers, sea level rise, and more severe weather including heat-waves and flooding. The speech will be followed by a panel discussion, chaired by RIBA President Ruth Reed, with leading industry experts on the challenges and opportunities for the built environment resulting from the changing climate.

Speaking about his lecture, Hilary Benn said:

“The groundbreaking UK Climate Projections 09, launched in the summer, show the scale of the potential challenge we face as a result of climate change. For the first time they set out the probability of changes to our climate – giving us the ability to judge risks and plan our response.

“These projections will certainly help the architectural profession, as they build, plan and manage risks in the future. Architecture must take account of carbon and adaptation to create climate resilient buildings, infrastructure and places.

“This is a really important task for the architectural profession to take on. I welcome the lead that the RIBA is giving in highlighting the need to reduce our emissions and design buildings that can withstand the climate of the future.”

The International Dialogues: Architecture and Climate Change series began in February 2006 with a talk by Wangari Maathai and has continued to give a platform to leading visionary thinkers, practitioners and policy-makers from disciplines such as environmentalism, architecture, urbanism and art. The series invites contributors to consider and debate the issues of globalisation and the socio-economic, cultural and environmental role that cities and our urban landscape must embrace to enable the transformation towards a low carbon world.

Through this programme of talks and debates the RIBA aims to encourage a wider understanding of the role of architecture and sustainable design solutions in both adapting and mitigating the effects of climate change through expert presentations and talks.

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