Thursday 18 March – Friday 30 April 2021
5.00 pm (AEST)


Design Speaks Virtual Portal
Virtual Event


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Program Info

This edition of The Architecture Symposium will explore the theme of the 2021 Asia Pacific Architecture Festival, “How new is now?”

Is there any such thing as a new idea? The cyclic nature of the world can make it difficult to distinguish innovation from iteration. Though we may think something is new, is it really new? In response to changing times, including a global pandemic, economic crisis and climate emergency, architectural and design agency has the potential to be applied in different and exciting ways. In this program, we will simultaneously learn from the past and optimistically look forward to the next decade of design with a careful balance of vision and pragmatism.

Presented over four days from 16 March, the program includes three hour-long speaker sessions and concludes with a plenary discussion. Choose the sessions that are most valuable to you, capped off with an engaging interactive live discussion, Dissection: How new is now?


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Sophia Buckle

Event Coordinator Header Image Apartments with a Small Restaurant by Naka Architects' Studio. Photography: Koichi Torimura.


  • New Needs
    The built environment of the Asia Pacific is at once solid and fluid; it is steeped in tradition but constantly changing, adapting to shifting demographics, economic imperatives and the new needs of its populace. The architects in this session will present work that responds to these evolving needs, including the drastic changes brought about by COVID-19. Their work blurs lines between temporary and permanent, work and home, old and new.
  • 12.20 pm Welcome
    Log in to the Design Speaks Virtual Portal
  • 12.30 pm Presentation
    Stephanie Larassati, At-Lars (Indonesia) 
  • 12.50 pm Presentation
    Yuri Uno and Toshiharu Naka, Naka Architects' Studio (Japan) 
  • 1.10 pm Presentation
    Gong Dong, Vector Architects (China)
  • 1.30 pm Session 2 concludes
    Return to the Design Speaks home page to see the full program


Stephanie Larassati

Principal, At-Lars

Stephanie Larassati is founder and principal architect of At-Lars in Jakarta. Several key projects of At-Lars include St. Carolus Hospital Screening Facility, Bliblimart (a mixed-use convenience store for, and a series of open-air cinemas Misbar commissioned by the Ministry of Creative Economy. At-Lars' work helping hospitals during the pandemic through temporary architecture has been recognized as a finalist in the ArchDaily Building of the Year Award program for 2021. Stephanie's works investigate the potential of ephemeral architecture in creating sustainable impact.

More About Stephanie Larassati →

Yuri Uno

Co-principal, Naka Architects’ Studio

Yuri Uno is a co-principal of Naka Architects’ Studio. Yuri creates spaces that allow living with nature. She is interested not only in enjoying the richness of nature, but also in creating architecture with an intermediate space where the inside and outside spaces are mixed, expressing the idea that human beings are a part of nature. Some of these integrated works include the use of rain circulation and solar energy to create an open yet pleasant climate.

After graduating from the University of Tokyo Graduate School, Yuri worked at architectural firm Nihon Sekkei, until she joined Naka Architects’ Studio in 2013.

More About Yuri Uno →

Toshiharu Naka

Co-principal, Naka Architects’ Studio

Toshiharu Naka is a co-principal of Naka Architects’ Studio and has been pursuing the relationship between local communities and architecture for 20 years. In particular, Toshiharu has critically viewed modern houses that are made exclusively for dwelling and designed housing, apartments, and community facilities that create living environments that integrate work and housing. “Small economy” is one of the keywords for these buildings.

More About Toshiharu Naka →

Gong Dong

Design Principal, Vector Architects

Gong Dong founded Vector Architects in 2008. He was elected as the foreign member of the French Academy of Architecture in 2019 and in the same year, was appointed as the Plym Distinguished Visiting Professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has been teaching design studios at Tsinghua University since 2014.

Vector Architects has been invited to various major exhibitions, including the 2018 Freespace Venice Biennale. Gong's practice has earned international recognition by his representative works, including Seashore Library, Seashore Chapel, Yangshuo Sugar House, the Renovation of the Captain’s House, Changjiang Art Museum, and Suzhou Intangible Cultural Heritage Museum.

More About Gong Dong →

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