Record breaking numbers gather for World Architecture Festival 2011 (ES)

Today marks the beginning of the fourth World Architectural Festival (WAF), the world's largest, interactive architectural event, which is opening its doors to more than 1,300 delegates during the course of this week.

Paul Finch_WAF Programme Director

WAF Program Director, Paul Finch.

WAF runs from the November 2-4, 2011, against a backdrop of world renowned architecture in Barcelona. The city is now home to the prestigious event which has fast become a highlight in the architectural calendar.

WAF 2011 promises to be the most exciting yet with a plethora of seminars and keynote talks discussing the themes of 'disaster' and 'difference' by 35 inspirational industry experts. An exhibition of over 700 of the world's most exciting architectural projects entered into the WAF Awards 2011 will be on display throughout the week and visitors will have the chance to watch architects from Japan to Jordan and the Netherlands to Namibia present their projects to a panel of esteemed judges. An array of evening drinks receptions will also be taking place throughout the week.

Welcoming attendees this morning, WAF Program Director, Paul Finch said, "The World Architecture Festival seeks to refresh one's idea of why design matters, and remind us of the fundamental importance of architecture to culture. This year our combined entry is the biggest we've ever had and with over 60 countries participating, the Festival is fast becoming the United Nations of Architecture."

One of the highlights of this week's event will be a lecture by David van der Leer, assistant curator of Architecture and Urban Studies at New York's Guggenheim Museum, as he presents his urban projects that explore ways of getting new audiences to think and act in cities around the world.

The festival also showcases an exhibition master planned by the festival's curators- which this year examines the themes of 'making a difference' and 'responding to disaster'. The exhibition explores the way architects have spearheaded campaigns that make a difference using examples of best practice from Japan, Christchurch, Chile, Brisbane and New Orleans.

Underpinning the Festival are the WAF Awards, the biggest interactive industry awards scheme which sees small-scale projects by individual architects compete against international architectural practices, on a global stage.

Shortlisted projects present their ideas live in front of a panel of acclaimed judges and attendees and the best in each category will win a sought-after WAF Award.

On the final day of WAF, category winners compete in front of an esteemed Super Jury, led by Michael Sorkin, principal of Michael Sorkin Studio in New York, that will crown one project the overall World Building of the Year 2011.

This year the 35 inspirational speakers discussing issues confronting architectural practices includes Sou Fujimoto, Principal of Sou Fujimoto Architects, David Mackay, Founding Principal, MBM Architects, Sangay Puri, Principal of Sanjay Puri Architects and Pauline Nee, Associate Head of Historic Buildings at John McAslan and Partners. Discussions will review what architects can offer to support post-disaster damage assessment

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