Paul Emmons

Post-Industrial Transformations
Sharing knowledge and identifying opportunities

Tuesday November 22 & Wednesday 23, 2011, 9.30am-6pm

Crit and Exhibition rooms, The Welsh School of Architecture,
Bute Building King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff CF11 7LH

A two day architectural symposium held by the Welsh School of Architecture and Illinois Institute of Technology, The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Carnegie-Mellon University.

The event is free but please RSVP to Katrina Lewis at

The Heads of the Valleys in south Wales have been described as 'the most intractable development region in the UK'. Developed for mining and steel, these areas suffer from high unemployment, ill health, poor housing, polluted landscapes, and economic and cultural degeneration, yet possess beautiful landscapes and a rich and unique cultural history. Post-industrial urban areas< near and within Chicago and Pittsburgh are, meanwhile, tackling depopulation, dereliction and the physical erosion and abandonment of the urban environment, pollution, low employment, poor housing quality, and outdated modes of energy supply, transport, and building materials. How can these nineteenth century industrial urban areas and landscapes be transformed to meet post-industrial 21st century expectations of sustainable and healthy living, in an innovative and efficient way which retains the distinctive character of these regions?

This two day architectural symposium, funded by British Council, brings together architects, historians, urban planners, researchers and students to discuss and compare post-industrial conditions and innovative responses in post-industrial rural and urban Wales and the USA.

Day 1
Post Industrial transformations
Tuesday 22nd November

9:30 Welcome and coffee / 9.45 Introduction

Session 1: Post Industrial Cities

10:00 Keynote 1 : Martin Kläschen, Illinois Institute of Technology:
Changing Parameters of the Tough City

11:00 Cristian Suau, WSA:
The 'Grand Paysage': Transformations between Memory and Invention

11.30 Break
Session 2: Post Industrial Low Carbon

12:00 Yangang Xing, WSA
Sustainable Living in Post-Carbon Societies from a Historical Perspective

12:20 Malcolm Eames, Low Carbon Research Institute Past and Prospective Energy Transitions - Exploring the case of Wales

12:40 Nick Hacking, Low Carbon Research Institute A Regional Transition to Hydrogen Energy? Finding a Pathway to Future Hydrogen Infrastructure in South Wales

13:00 Lunch (provided for speakers)

Session 3: Reclaiming Post Industrial Landscapes

14:00 Keynote 2: John Folan, Carnegie Mellon University Permanence: Determined by Residence(ts) (via Skype)

15:00 Marga Munar Bauza, WSA The Parks of the Forgotten Land

15:30 Break

Session 4 : Materials in a Post Industrial Context

16:00 Kathryn Wilkinson, WSA Iron in the Landscape and Iron in the Soul

16:30 Keynote 3 : Kevin Harrington, Illinois Institute of technology Chicago– Material Transformation

17:30 Drinks / Three short films by 'Anticipatory Field' 2011 BSc Vertical Studio

Day 2
Transforming the valleys
Wednesday 23rd November

Valleys Sessions:
Students from the Masters in Architecture have been conducting a comprehensive exercise in mapping, analysing  and re-visioning the heads of the valleys region.  They will present and discuss the results of their deliberations from the perspectives of:

Theme 1: Economy, Settlement and Territory

Theme 2: Social History, Culture, Heritage

Theme 3: Nature, Infrastructure, Health and Welfare

09:30 Welcome and coffee / 9.45 Project Introduction

10:00 Keynote 4: Frances Whitehead, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Slow Cleanup: (Post Normal) Cultural Heritage

11:00 MArch, WSA
Valleys Theme 1: Economy, Settlement and Territory

12:00 MArch, WSA
Valleys Theme 2: Social History, Culture, Heritage

13:00 Lunch (provided for staff and speakers)

14:00 Simon Lannon, WSA
Low Carbon Technologies at an Urban/Regional Scale

14:30 Keynote 5: William Worn, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Post-Industrial Transformation and the Obesogenic City

15:30 Break

16:00 MArch, WSA
Valleys Theme 3: Nature, Infrastructure, Health and Welfare

17:00 Open session discussion with all keynotes

17:30 End

Click here to view pdf of abstracts and bios


In May 2011, Year 1 and 2 WSA students and US visiting students in the 'Anticipatory Field' Vertical Studio completed three short essay-films, 'Roots', 'Pilgrimage' and 'Path-Void', comparing, contrasting and commenting on the post-industrial sites of the Cwmystwyth lead mines and Ebbw Vale, following site visits funded by British Council. To view the films, go to

British Council Connect