The countdown is on: RECORD’s 2020 edition of its Innovation Conference is less than one week away. The event will take place entirely online on Tuesday, October 27 and Wednesday, October 28, with a global line-up of speakers, and an audience of thousands of members of the architecture and design communities across time zones, who will tune in to 10 virtual sessions. This year’s theme is “The New Future: Architecture, Urbanism, and Communities.”

Four keynote speakers will bookend both days of online panels and lectures. On October 27, Jeanne Gang will open the conference with a talk titled “Architecture and Urbanism at Every Scale,” while 2021 RIBA Gold Medal winner David Adjaye will close the first day by discussing his global practice, from museum projects in the U.S. and the Holocaust Memorial in the U.K. to his expanding portfolio in Africa. Architect, thinker, and innovator Neri Oxman will give the opening keynote on Wednesday, October 28, on “Humanity X Nature,” about the values, knowledge and skills we must deploy to design a future of synergy between the natural and the built environments. Frank Gehry, whose contributions to architecture over the past six decades have earned him the profession's highest honors, including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1989, will round out the 2020 event as final keynote speaker on Wednesday afternoon. Known for the power of his architecture to transform cities and districts, from Bilboa to Prague to Paris, the architect, while continuing to build the inventive cultural and commercial buildings for which he is known, is turning again to the city that helped make his career over the last 75 years. In Los Angeles, a number of projects in his office are grappling with urban and environmental problems, and he is bringing his unique design sensibility, in surprising ways, to overlooked neighborhoods.  

Six other presentations include those by Thomas Phifer, founder of Thomas Phifer and Partners, and Fabrizio Barozzi, of the Barcelona-based firm Barozzi Veiga, who will each speak on his architecture’s impact on cities and culture in separate sessions. Mario Carpo, professor of architectural history and theory at University College London’s Bartlett School of Architecture, will discuss his ideas on the role of robotics and automation in contemporary architecture during the first day of the event.

In a panel titled “Seeking Equity in Architectural Education,” three prominent educators from three very different institutions will debate how to bring greater diversity and inclusion to architectural education, in terms of students and faculty, as well as how to revise the curriculum to reflect a multiplicity of perspectives beyond the Western canon. Kwesi Daniels, head of architecture at Tuskegee University, the oldest architecture school at a historically Black college; Adrian Parr, dean of the 1,300-student strong College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington, where half the students identify as LatinX and African American; and Sunil Bald, the associate dean for curriculum and admissions at the Yale School of Architecture, will discuss this vital topic on Tuesday, October 27.

On Wednesday afternoon, New York City Parks Department commissioner Mitchell Silver will join director of New York City Public Design Commission Justin Garrett Moore on the “Equity, Access, and Inclusion in Public Space” panel, followed by a conversation with Martha Thorne and Branko Kolarevic—deans at IE University’s School of Architecture in Madrid and NJIT’s College of Architecture and Design, respectively—about how architectural education is going virtual.

It’s not too late to sign up. Registration is free to all and open throughout the entirety of the virtual event.