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Engineering Season at the Victoria and Albert Museum – London

Web Structures Dr Hossein Rezai was recently part of a panel discussion at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as part of V&A’s Engineering Season celebrating engineering achievements throughout the years. The event brought together world leaders in the fields of architecture, engineering and economics to debate the role of infrastructure as a catalyst for urban regeneration. A presentation on the Hassan II Rabat-Salé Bridge project in Morocco was made by its architect, Marc Mimram, and was followed by an interdisciplinary panel discussion. Panellists included: Jo Da Silva, engineer and international director of ARUP; Martin Knight, architect and specialist in infrastructure projects; Michel Desvigne, landscape architect; Hugh Pearman; editor of the RIBA Journal; Farrokh Derakhshani, Director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, and Dr Hossein Rezai, founding director of Web Structures and a member of the AKAA Master Jury.

The discussion was moderated by Hanif Kara, founding partner of AKT II Engineering and a member of the AKAA Steering Committee. Taking the goals of the Aga Khan Award, which include “improving the quality of life and understanding, influencing and inspiring future generations”, as a framework for discussion, the debate reflected on issues such as disciplinary boundaries, technology transfer, place-making and the economic and social impact of the Hassan II bridge project in the developing world.

Experts discussed best practices and future challenges of infrastructure development. Whilst talking about his bridge project, Marc Mimram explained his philosophy that a bridge “must be defined by a place, and not a creation of the engineer showing off muscle”. He also explained his belief that “public space is shared by everybody. Public space represents democracy”. Dr Rezai offered that “Infrastructure is one of the cornerstones of our civilisation. Engineers as one of the main contributors to the design, construction and maintenance of our infrastructure throughout the years must be proud of themselves and their achievements”. Jo Da Silva shared her experience with international developmental projects across the globe, particularly in developing countries. Farrokh Derakhshani set out the forward looking objectives of AKAA and the award’s influence in enhancing quality of life across borders and cultures.

The event was held in a packed Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre at the V&A, and was jointly organized by Victoria and Albert Museum and Aga Khan Award for Architecture.


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