Is there an architecture that stands in the face of commercial globalisation, that celebrates the spirit of individual place? In the current economic climate, is there an architecture that rejects commoditisation and excess? Can architects, designers and engineers help sustain a sense of local identity, both in terms of culture and conservation of the environment?

These are the challenges that Sustaining Identity III, a symposium curated by Paul Brislin (Director, Arup Associates) and renowned architectural theorist Juhani Pallasmaa, aims to address head on.

Sustaining Identity III will bring together visionaries and practitioners from different generations, cultures and geographies to prove that the creation of uniquely localised, people-centred space is still possible.

Taking place at London’s V&A Museum on 29 November 2012, the symposium will also bring together acclaimed contemporary architects whose work rejects homogenisation by prioritising place, the senses and memory: an “architecture of resistance” (Juhani Pallasmaa).

The focus of Sustaining Identity III will be on exceptional contemporary architecture that celebrates the locality, culture, geography, value systems and experiences of the people for whom it was created. Speakers include: 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Wang Shu, 2012 Global Holcim Award Winner Francis Kéré, Aga Khan Award winners Li Xiaodong and Anna Heringer, and Arup Associates’ Director Declan O’Carroll.

 The event coincides with the publication of the November issue of Architectural Design (AD) entitled Human Experience and Place, guest edited by Paul Brislin, and which features the work of the speakers and other important contemporary architects who celebrate the spirit of individual place.

 Sustaining Identity III is hosted by the Victoria & Albert Museum in collaboration with Architectural Design (AD), Architectural Review and Arup Associates.

Purchase tickets from
Join in on Twitter using #SustainingIdentityIII
More information on the speakers at


Wang Shu, Francis Kéré,  Li Xiaodong,  Anna Heringer, Christopher Lee, Bijoy Jain, Rick Joy, Kongjian Yu, Josep Lluís Mateo, Declan O’Carroll and Juhani Pallasmaa.


V&A Museum, 29 November 2012


Student price £10