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> icamprint 07 (5 MB – complete file)
letter from the president
At every icam conference we all fall a little bit in love, with a city, a country, and its architecture. This was certainly true in Slovenia, where I reflected on the very distinctive and attractive character of both the country and its people from my afterconference cabin high in the Julian Alps. I confess, I have already been captivated by the spirit of Copenhagen, and am greatly looking forward to our conference in BLOX, the new home of the Danish Architecture Centre. In a first for icam, we will be welcoming the board of the Association of Architectural Organisations to join us for discussions and to experience the rich diversity and international reach of our membership.
Two areas have dominated the thinking of your Executive Committee over recent months. The first has been the potential withi n icam to inspire and stimulate a significant increase in international collaborations and partnerships. With the theme of Migrating Ideas, we hope that new ideas will come from Copenhagen, along with intentions for trans-national research, exhibitions and projects, built on and born out of the strong foundations of the icam community.
The second has been how to facilitate the embrace of the digital; how to ensure that icam makes the same digital ‘turn’ that all of our individual institutions have already undertaken. We are delighted to now have an active social media presence (thanks to our Danish colleagues) and are planning for the replacement of our veteran website. We do not underestimate the challenge of achieving this in an organisation run without staff, but experience has shown us that dedicated individuals, supported by generous institutions, can achieve significant results. On this note, I should like to pay tribute to the significant and ongoing contribution made to the health and wellbeing of icam by the Architekturzentrum Wien. Not only did they provide my predecessor as President, the inimitable Dietmar Steiner, they also support the long-standing and dedicated involvement of Monika Platzer as custodian of our website, editor of icamprint, and the informed voice of reason in so many of our discussions.
Monika’s Pictorial Prelude in this issue, as well as Sebastian Schmidt’s account of archival research, took me back to when I worked more closely with the collections, and the heady experience of discovery in search rooms and libraries riddled with rules but alive with possibilities. A highlight for me was studying the professional journal of the neo-classical architect James Playfair (1755 –1794), which documented his regular travels on horseback and by carriage from London to remote parts of Scotland to service country house and church commissions. Following his early death, a portfolio of his drawings was acquired by John Soane in 1795, and are now held in one of icam’s most long-established members — Sir John Soane’s Museum in London (available to students from 1812, and formally established by an Act of Parliament in 1833) — where researchers are guaranteed, as in icam member institutions world-wide, a warm welcome and an inspiring collaborative experience.
Rebecca Bailey, president