A major conference designed to showcase the best in architecture will attract a long line of speakers from home and abroad when it takes place next month.
Plans for “Power of Place” – being run as part of the Year of Architecture 2010 – are already taking shape, with the two-day event scheduled for the Shetland Museum and Archives on 17th and 18th September.
Members of the council’s planning board were invited to get behind it when they met at the Town Hall on Wednesday – not least because the emphasis throughout the event is on living in remote and rural areas in northern latitudes such as Shetland.
The event will also provide a springboard for a design competition for a building to be built at a site at Fullaburn in Bressay.
Organisers are planning to run the contest, which has been dubbed “Raise the Game”, at three different levels.
Registered architects will be eligible to compete, while architectural students and high school pupils will also take part at their own respective levels.
Booking a place at the conference will cost £175, which covers refreshments, lunches, a gala buffet on the Friday evening and a civic reception being specially held on the Thursday night for early arrivals.
A tour with Shetland Archi-tectural Society will also be staged as part of the event. Speaking on the Friday will be founder of the GAIA architecture group of Norway, Chris Butters, who will provide an overview of “cutting edge” projects in sustainable architecture and planning.
He will be followed by insulation expert Chris Morgan – listed as a certified Passivhaus designer. A promotional leaflet for the event circulated to councillors says Passivhaus buildings are designed to be so well insulated they need almost no energy to keep occupants warm and comfortable.
A presentation will also be given by the Tiree team behind the Roots Design Workshop, which uses its close working connections with the community in Tiree as an example of how architects can work closely with those around them.
The Saturday will start off with a talk from Dominic Cole, the lead landscape architect for the Eden Project. He will explore the qualities of islands across the globe that have inspired his work at the major tourist attraction in Cornwall.
Andrew Leiper, of Max Fordham LLP, will talk about lighting, heating and ventilation within new and refurbished buildings.
A talk will also be given by Brian Wilkinson, interpretation officer for the Royal Commission for the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland.
Ãrni Winther – an architect from Faroe – will discuss the issues and challenges of architecture in an island setting.
Hugh Broughton, director of his own architectural firm in London, meanwhile, will discuss the design of two Antarctic research stations, and how the technologies employed there can have relevance in other rural and isolated places.
Finally, a series of workshops, talks and demonstrations will help bring the event to a conclusion.
Two public talks are also being held: Mr Cole will talk about the Eden Project on the Friday night while on Saturday Mr Broughton will examine, past, present and future life in Antarctica, including the South Shetland Islands.
Planning chairman Frank Robertson told committee members: “This is probably one of the most important conferences taking place in respect of planning, design and architecture.
“Planning and design shapes the kind of communities we live in. It’s extremely important that the planning board in particular supports this. The fact we have invited architects from Norway and Faroe gets information from them.”
He added: “The single biggest change in housing was the advent of housing design from Norway in 1973.
“That created the standard way beyond the current Scottish building standards at that time. Learning from them is extremely important.
“The quality and standard in appearance of our community is very much in our hands. Also, it identifies particular characteristics that make places what they are.”