Director, Kuala Lumpur Architecture Festival 2016
Festivals are celebrations. Historically festivals are celebrations in the annual calendar of a community, be they religious, cultural, seasonal or national. With time the celebratory nature of arts events also became to be called festivals. Although arts festivals are commonplace it is only in recent years that we see the coming of architecture festivals. London with its long history of arts, music, film, literary and other festivals only saw the birth of its London Festival of Architecture in 2004, though this was preceded in 2003 by the London Design Festival. Many major cities have yet to establish their own architecture festivals though Singapore can boast that it founded its festival Akifest in 2007. Melbourne being the cultural capital of Australia has started its Melbourne Architecture Annual and of course Sydney has to follow suit with its Sydney Architecture Festival
Professional institutes have long had their architecture conferences. Essential as they are for the professional and intellectual life of the profession they are nevertheless largely internal discourses. An architecture festival is not a new and modern name of an architecture conference. It is a transformation of a closed event to an open one and from the private to the public. The notion of an architecture festival is that it is part of the public domain, and is celebrated by everyone and not just the profession of architecture. And that of course should be what it is, as architecture is physically, spatially, contextually and visibly public.
PAM has long had its architecture conferences and DATUM:KL in 2003 continued this great tradition. Whilst the addition of the building exhibition ARCHIDEXin 2007 ensured a new dimension of wider participation, it was nevertheless still within the building industry. Even when PAM first used the moniker Kuala Lumpur Architecture Festival in 2011, it remained basically within the confines of the profession and the building industry though the scale had become much larger.
Moving forward the Kuala Lumpur Architecture Festival 2016 is intentionally rebranded and refocused in order that it is a celebration of architecture and design with the objective of engaging the public. With this new direction is the rebranding with new logos, the refocusing of regular events and the creation of new ones. This is the first step for the Kuala Lumpur Architecture Festival to be ultimately a public celebration of architecture and design.
Hence for this year, new events will be featured which have a public orientation and they are the PAM Public Lecture, PAM Architecture Exhibition, PAM Graphic Design Exhibition, PAM Round Table and the novel KLAFX series.
Previous regular events will continue and they include the DATUM PAM Conference, PAM Green Forum (formerly Green Building Forum), PAM Design Forum (formerly Kuala Lumpur Design Forum), ARCHIDEX, PAM Masterclass and PAM Architecture Tours.