Ties Between Two Great Nations – American & British Architecture & Design – Recap

Ties Between Two Great Nations – American & British Architecture & Design – Recap  

On Tuesday, October 17, 2023, the British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia presented Ties Between Two Great Nations – American & British Architecture & Design. The event was held at Carpenters’ Hall, an iconic building and treasure in historic Philadelphia. Special thanks to our sponsor, UK Business & Trade/British Consul-General New York, and program partners, the Carpenters’ Company, and the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia for collaborating with us.  

The historic relationship between the UK and Greater Philadelphia carries over to present-day aspects of society, including city planning, building, construction, engineering, design, and architecture. Post-Brexit, the UK has an opportunity to launch new export markets, and UK architects are one example. This year, the US and the UK signed a mutual recognition agreement (MRA) of qualifications in architecture which further enhances trade ties between the two nations.  

Emma Wade-Smith OBE, HM Trade Commissioner for North America and Consul General New York, and UK Government was our special guest. Emma introduced the content portion of our program. She talked about how the MRA will strengthen trade ties between the US and the UK, streamlining processes and reducing costs and examinations without compromising safety standards. She explained how the MRA enables world-class architects to export their expertise across the Atlantic, facilitating domestic and international mobility for US and UK licensed practitioners. Emma mentioned how sustainable design capability and the drive to NetZero are significantly impacting the global built environment. And US and UK engineers, architects, designers, and urban and regional planners are at the forefront. Also, Emma explained how the MRA allows American and British parties involved in the construction and lifecycle management of built assets to more effectively collaborate and share data.  

Following Emma’s remarks there was an hour-long panel discussion facilitated by Alan Greenberger, FAIA, Drexel University, Vice President for Real Estate and Facilities, Drexel University. Alan is a longtime friend and supporter of Greater Philadelphia’s connections to the UK. He served in former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration as Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Director of Commerce, as well as executive director and then chair of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. He traveled with the Nutter Administration to London on a commercial trade mission with several area companies, and throughout his tenure with the City of Philadelphia he welcomed countless UK businesses to the region. Alan expertly led an exceptional group of industry leaders through a dynamic discussion about American and British architecture and design, legacy projects, and future collaborations. 

Each speaker had the opportunity to present their projects and experiences on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Catherine Clark, RIBA ARB Dip Arch BSc, President, Royal Institute of British Architects – USA talked about her role in delivering the MRA, and how its impacting the built environment. Scott Compton, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, Principal Architect, AIA Strategic Council Convener discussed advocating for sustainability with AIA Pennsylvania and other peer organizations; provided examples where he integrated sustainability efforts into iconic historic properties, and mentioned his Amtrak projects, and the regional transit approach to sustainability. Georgina Robledo, Associate Partner at RSHP spoke about the similar and different approaches to the implementation of sustainable design regulations between the UK and US; how will the merger of current thought processes and best practices in both the UK and US will benefit and advance regulatory changes on both sides of the Atlantic; and what we can learn from the UK planning and design focus on the “public realm. Richard Maimon, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, Partner, KieranTimberlake spoke about his lead work on the highprofile project the US Embassy in London. He talked about the differences between the municipal planning and approval processes in the UK and the US, and what we can learn from the UK planning and design focus on the “public realm.Danielle DiLeo Kim, AIA, President & CEO, PHILADELPHIA250, talked about Philadelphia 250, and how the group’s strategy and plans are informed by her community design and planning background. Danielle outlined why legacy projects are important to PHILADELPHIA250; what citywide transformative opportunities Philadelphia 250 is developing; how they are identifying the projects; and who they are collaborating with to execute these activities. 

Many thanks to our distinguished speakers and to everyone enables this timely presentation. We look forward to tracking the progress and development of many discussion items presented during the event. 

Click here to view photos. 

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  • Morgan Lewis
  • Olympus
  • Penn Medicine