Fri 28 Feb 2020

Saunders Boston Architects brings together leaders in sustainable innovation to shape future of architecture

Saunders Boston Architects brings together leaders in sustainable innovation to shape future of architecture

Over 130 leaders in sustainable innovation gathered at our recent event, ‘SBA100: Looking Forward’, to gain insights into how innovations in technology may shape the architecture industry and support sustainable living in the future.

Spread over two floors at the Allia Future Business Centre, a previous Saunders Boston Architects project, the evening consisted of a range of thought-provoking presentations and an interactive workshop, which were conducted by our team and guest speakers from the University of Cambridge, Allia Ltd, Polysolar Limited and Sika AG.

Green education

Led by Margherita Cesca, Senior Architect, one of the first presentations of the evening focused on education, schools of the future and green technology. As part of the talk, representatives from the University of Cambridge presented research on plant generated electricity and autonomous vehicles, discussing the roles they could play in future education building design. Hamish Watson, CEO of Polysolar Limited, a leader in solar innovation, also joined the presentation; exploring how buildings can become sources of power when architects collaborate with solar energy specialists.

Smart care

Director, Darren Heffer, and Allia Future Business Centre CEO, Martin Clark, joined forces to present innovative ideas on adaptable living and care housing; specifically discussing the role that technology will play in shaping human habitats in the future, and how architects can innovate to design smart buildings that better serve the needs of residents.

Sustainable settlements

Focusing specifically on sustainability and self-sufficiency in the future, Director, Nick Green, presented on the future of the Fen, a vision for self-sustaining settlements in unique environmental contexts. Under the same theme, Nick Jackson, Architectural Assistant, led a presentation on material and energy flow in the 21st century, which explored the growing need for a circular economy for sustainable development.

Future technology

The final presentation of the evening was conducted by Henri Villanueva, Project Architect and Maxime Liard, of Sika AG, who discussed additive manufacturing technologies, such as 3D printing, and the role that they will play in the future of construction.

Running in parallel of the presentations was a futuristic and interactive workshop carried out by Tonia Gkougkouli, Architect, envisioning living underground as a possible solution to climate change and overpopulation. During the workshop, there was a video presenting existing underground buildings and cities, interesting architectural designs for future underground buildings and explaining the benefits of living underground.

Visitors had also the opportunity to interact with a Perspex model which was depicting underground buildings and an online survey responding to the question “are you ready to live underground?” It was really interesting that the majority of the participants were willing to experience the new way of living or were open to receiving more information about living underground. 

Complementing the smart care presentation, guests were able to experience Tarkett’s unique VR simulation of visual impairment conditions which commonly afflict the elderly.

Centenary year

The event was a culmination of centenary celebrations for our practice, which has marked 100 years since inception and 50 years in Cambridge. The festivities have included a series of architectural walks through our past projects, a 110km bike ride from our original office in London to our current headquarters in Cambridge, and a centenary event that launched our practice’s new branding at the Fisher Building in St John’s College, Cambridge - a project delivered by us in 1989.

Nick Green, Director said: “The SBA100: Looking Forward event marked the end of a series of fantastic celebrations for the company. We have enjoyed looking back at our history and legacy both in Cambridge and further afield, and future gazing to how we will innovate as a practice over the next 100 years; using architecture and design to lead innovation in sustainable solutions.”