Speakers corner: we’re all ears ahead of the blockbuster line-up at Vision 2017

Preview of the temporary UK Parliament building that's on the river and connected to the current parliament building. We see the rest of London in the distance.
Here, we preview some of the built and unbuilt projects being featured at Vision 2017. First up, the forthcoming temporary UK Parliament building by Gensler
(Image credit: TBC)

Now in its third year, built environment symposium Vision takes place at Olympia Central in west London and is aimed at architects, designers, specifiers and their clients working in the commercial, health, education and retail sectors.

Big names featuring in the seminar programme include Foster + PartnersRIBA, Arup and the Netherlands’ UNStudio. Roger Ridsdill Smith will talk about the clever use of innovative materials in Foster’s recent projects, while RIBA president-elect Ben Derbyshire will present 'Supurbia', a vision to transform London’s suburbs.

Programme highlights include presentations from leading thinkers at the forefront of architecture and innovation. When he isn't working on international architecture projects as lead architect at ZHA, Stefano Paiocchi has been busy working on his project 'Code-Structed Skins: Design as Research', which sheds light on how the fields of architecture and fashion might co-operate. In his talk at Vision 2017, Paiocchi will liken the human body to a complex built structure which needs to be covered, and will suggest that the world of fashion design can borrow from architecture’s computational principles and methods.

Exterior view of the Canopia, Costa Rica. Full of greenery, low and tall different kinds of plants, with tall trees surrounding the bungalow covered with reed.

Canopia, Costa Rica, by Studio Saxe

(Image credit: TBC)

Andrew Lawrence of Arup will pick through the engineering challenges that he faced to build The Smile, Alison Brooks Architects’ centrepiece for the 2016 London Design Festival, and Andy Young, head of BIG’s London office, will outline his practice’s ‘yes is more’ approach to architecture and the formula for future contemporary office design.

Meanwhile, Caroline Bos from UNStudio is to unveil new research exploring the impact of the circular economy on the built environment. She will explore how traditional retail and architecture typologies struggle to meet the needs of today. There is an increasing focus on the digital marketplace and the sharing economy, she believes, and a shift from the commercial consumption of goods to experiences.

According to UNStudio, the future of retail will be mixed-use entertainment, co-working spaces and fitness centres, which still hang on to an element of retail. Up-and-coming talent will include ex-Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe. Via a live link from Costa Rica, he will speak about tropical architecture and will question what is nowadays meant by sustainability.

A villa in Costa Rica. Concrete columns support the house, which is covered in light wooden boards, with lots of windows and terraces. There is an infinity pool next to the villa. The villa looks over to the nature beyond.

Casa Flotante, Costa Rica, by Studio Saxe

(Image credit: TBC)

A row of modern-looking buildings painted orange and curved to one side, which looks out to the river.

Paleiskwartier, the Netherlands, by NLA

(Image credit: TBC)

A look at the Mercedes-Benz museum next to the football field.

Mercedes-Benz Museum, Germany, by UNStudio

(Image credit: TBC)

Google HQ, with a seethrough, curved roof, coffee, and terraces that each serve a different purpose.

Google HQ, US, by BIG and Thomas Heatherwick

(Image credit: TBC)

A modern-looking pavilion in white, with lights that cast different colors and people walking on it. We can see the city skyline in the back.

Burnham Pavilion, US, by UNStudio. Photography: Christian Richters

(Image credit: Christian Richters)

A row of identical houses. Painted in grayish brown, with tall, black framed windows.

House, UK, by ShedKM. Photography: Jack Hobhouse

(Image credit: Jack Hobhouse)

Curved, wooden structure, with a terrace at the end with people standing on it.

The Smile, UK, by Arup. Photography: Paul Riddle

(Image credit: Paul Riddle)


Vision 2017 runs from 6-7 June and is free to attend. For more information or to register for tickets, visit the website


Olympia Central
Hammersmith Road
London W14 8UX


Clare Dowdy is a London-based freelance design and architecture journalist who has written for titles including Wallpaper*, BBC, Monocle and the Financial Times. She’s the author of ‘Made In London: From Workshops to Factories’ and co-author of ‘Made in Ibiza: A Journey into the Creative Heart of the White Island’.