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Living Cities Forum expands to Sydney, first speakers announced

The Naomi Milgrom Foundation has announced the first group of speakers for the third annual Living Cities Forum, with architects and urbanists from Australia, the US and Thailand among the line-up.

The foundation has also announced that this year the Melbourne event, to be held at Deakin Edge at Federation Square on 23 May, will be followed by a Sydney edition featuring the same speakers a week later at Carriageworks on 28 May.

Headlining the speaking program will be Glenn Murcutt, Australia’s sole Pritzker Prize laureate and the recently announced architect of the Naomi Milgrom Foundation’s 2019 MPavilion.

The theme of the symposium is “Future Needs,” and speakers will be tasked with exploring the challenges facing cities in a time of change. Naomi Milgrom said, “We are privileged that the world’s leading minds will be joining us for the 2019 Living Cities Forum to investigate how we can thoughtfully build our cities for the changes and challenges ahead.”

Murcutt, whose body of work is based entirely in Australia, is one of the country’s most internationally prominent architects. Among his most significant recent projects are the Australian Islamic Centre in the Melbourne suburb of Newport, designed in collaboration with Elevli Plus Architects, and the forthcoming Australian Opal Centre, a partially subterranean museum in outback New South Wales designed with Wendy Lewin.

Also on the docket is Christopher Hawthorne, former architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times and the City of Los Angeles’ first Chief Design Officer. Hawthorne assumed the role just after L.A. was selected as the host city for the 2028 Summer Olympics, and is responsible for elevating the position design occupies in the city’s urban planning at a time of massive renewal.

Mabel Wilson, head of the trans-disciplinary New York-based Studio And, works across design and research, with a particular focus on “politics and cultural memory in black America.” Wilson’s practice has been a finalist for a number of high-profile design competitions, including Manhattan’s African Burial Ground Memorial and the Smithsonian’s National Museum for African American History and Culture, with Diller Scofidio and Renfro.

Rounding out the list of speakers so far announced is Rachaporn Choochury, co-founder and design director of Bangkok-based practice All Zone, who will talk about the practice’s work, including major projects such as the MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum in Chiang Mai. All Zone’s projects are defined by a commitment to reuse and recycling and often involve the use of locally sourced materials manipulated in surprising ways.

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