Friday, March 27, 2009

Architect 2009

SLIA in intnl. foray by Ranga CHANDRARATHNE

SLIA has done more than any professional body in Sri Lanka. In an interview with the Sunday Observer Architect Jayantha Perera, President SLIA, President elect Chandana Edirisooriya and Architect D.B Navarathne on the vital role the SLIA plays in the construction industry in Sri Lanka, spell out the objectives and the capabilities of SLIA which has the expertise to undertake any task in re-building the nation. Architect 2009 is the 27th annual sessions of the Institute of Architects which will be held from March 4 to March 8, 2009 at BMICH. Architect Navaratne, Architect Jayantha Perera, President, SLIA and Architect Chandana Edirisooriya Q: The SLIA is one of the prominent professional bodies in Sri Lanka as well as the Asian region. Looking back on the beaten track, how do you assess the progress the SLIA achieved and recognition of it as professional body both in Sri Lanka and abroad? A: SLIA was started fifty years ago with few members. Today, SLIA has over thousand members. In 1976, SLIA was incorporated by an Act of Parliament and in 1996 Architect Registration Board was incorporated into the SLIA Act where the term architect was protected. By this, quacks in the guise of architects were thrown out of board. In the international arena, SLIA has been a founder of the Commonwealth Association of Architects and Architect Regional Council of Asia. It is also a member of UIA (Union of International Architects) and SLIA held chairmanship of ArchAsia twice and chairmanship of SARJ twice. SLIA has achieved recognition in the international arena and locally it has been rendering a service more than any professional body in the country. Now we have four CPDs every year and SLIA publishes an English and Sinhala journal quarterly in addition to a newsletter. We are on the verge of publishing a book on the works of SLIA members during the last fifty years. So each member will contribute two pages. We hope to launch it with annual sessions. We have initiated School of Architects. Q: Why the `Architects 2009' trade fair and exhibition which the SLIA conducts annually is important for architects and public in Sri Lanka? A: The exhibition offers the architects to publicize their works. At the same time, it gives an opportunity for public to be aware of what has been happening in the Sri Lankan architectural scene as well as global trend. With regard to product division, the exhibition and trade fair offers opportunities for exporters, architects and public. B: What is this year's focused area centred around which the `Architects 2009' is held? A: Against the backdrop of global worming, shrinking resources, the focus is on application of new technology in Sri Lanka with experts' help to construct more energy efficient building with fewer resources. For this purpose, experts from India , Hongkong and from the West will attend the annual sessions. Keynote address will be delivered by Mohan Weerasinghe who shared the nobel prize for global worming scenario with Algore. Q: Can you spell out the objectives of the exhibition and trade fair? A: The main objective is to expose the architects to public, trade to public and educate the public on what is available as architects, material and technology available for the industry. B: Who are the principal Sri Lankan and foreign resource personnel participating in this year's exhibition and trade fair? A: All stakeholders in the construction industry such as contractors, material suppliers, furniture suppliers and sanitaryware suppliers are involved in the exhibition and trade fair locally and foreign suppliers through their agents and some foreign suppliers themselves from India. Q: How do you perceive the challenges and opportunities that Sri Lankan professional architects would face in the post war scenario in which construction industry would play a vital role in development, especially of war-ravaged North and East? A: SLIA was the first to come forward when tsunami struck and most of SLIA members were involved in post-Tsunami re-development process including North and East. In fact, SLIA collected funds and constructed houses in the South and in the East. SLIA provided honourary services to a certain point and services for a nominal fee beyond it. SLIA has the total expertise to re-build the nation. Q: What do you think the appropriate strategies and policy initiatives that government should make in order to derive maximum benefits from application of state-of -art technology in the field of architecture? A: Government should take an initiative to use appropriate professionals in developing the country. When it comes to building sector, I think, using an architect is a must because architect is a team leader in any building project. If that is done government will achieve the maximum.