Quality Conference

Quality Conference ( 4 - 6 July 2007)

Variously controlled, assured and managed, quality has become ubiquitous in Western societies. In consequence, the word’s familiar usage has grown slippery. Formerly grounded in ethical values or skilled craftsmanship, quality is now commonly associated with the management of administrative or technical processes. Whereas the appreciation of quality was founded in the exercise of individual judgement and taste – of connoisseurship – organisations now seek to ground its assessment in supposedly objective systems of evaluation. Practitioners are under pressure to quantify quality, but it remains questionable whether it is possible or even desirable to do so. This important and highly topical issue will lie at the heart of these proceedings. The conference will consider how – in cultural practices, in making and designing, in emerging technologies and in education – quality is defined and appreciated, managed and produced.

The following will give keynote papers:

Beatriz Colomina, Princeton University
Catherine Belsey, University of Wales, Swansea
Chantal Brotherton-Ratcliffe, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London and New York
Adam Caruso, Caruso St.John Architects, London
David Leatherbarrow, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Sunand Prasad, Penoyre and Prasad Architects, London; CABE, London; and President-elect RIBA
Marc Treib, University of California, Berkeley

There will also be 50 papers in parallel sessions, with speakers from around the world.

Rates for attendance for non-speaking delegates: whole conference: £295 sterling; two days: £150; one day £50.

Information for Delegates:


Travelling from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australasia and America:
London’s Heathrow Airport is connected by a direct train (the Heathrow Express, taking 15 mins, every 15 mins) to London Paddington station. Trains run every half hour from Paddington to Cardiff Central and take just under two hours.

Travelling from Europe

In addition to the London Airports, there are direct flights from Amsterdam and some other European cities to Cardiff (Wales) Airport. There is a bus, rather infrequently, from there to the city centre which takes approximately 45 minutes. A taxi will cost approximately 30 pounds sterling. Bristol Airport is connected by bus to Bristol Temple Meads station (approx. 30 mins.) from where you can catch a train to Cardiff (45 mins, every hour).

Travelling within the UK:

Cardiff is 15-20 mins. from the M4 motorway by car. There are regular direct trains from London Paddington, Birmingham, Manchester and Southampton and less regular trains from Scotland, the North-East and the Midlands.

The University’s website ( has more travel information.


Delegates are requested to book their own accommodation in Cardiff.  The conference venue, the School of Architecture, is within five minutes walk of the city centre. A map of the city and university is available at:


If you haven’t already done so, please return your formatted abstract – using the template emailed to you – as soon as possible. We also welcome your PowerPoint presentations to load onto our system in advance; either as a CD sent by post or a compressed file sent by email to CDs will be returned and we undertake not keep copies of any material.


A double issue of the journal arq (12/3-4, 2007) will include a selection of papers from the conference. We are also in discussion with Routledge over the publication of a conference book.

Address: Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, Bute Building, King Edward VII Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3NB, UK Conference e-mail

Contacts: For booking, timetabling and administrative queries please contact Katrina Lewis ( For matters academic, please contact Allison Dutoit (, Juliet Odgers ( or Adam Sharr (