The annual lecture given in honour of outstanding New Zealand architect Ian Athfield is always a Festival highlight.

This year’s lecturer is American architectural academic, critic and activist Billy Fleming. He will talk in in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Fleming is director of the University of Pennsylvania’s McHarg Center, an interdisciplinary think tank that seeks to reconcile environmentalism and social science, and landscape and architecture. His research interests include the use of nature-based strategies in climate adaptation planning along the American coast. Fleming’s previous roles include domestic policy adviser in the Obama Administration and co-founder of Data Refuge, an international consortium of scientists, librarians, and programmers working to preserve environmental data threatened with erasure by the policies of the current United States government. He is also a widely published and respected writer on the key challenges of our time – climate change, disaster and resilience, and their intersection with science, politics and design.

Background reading

Find out more about Billy’s research, work and opinions through these recent articles:

‘The Dutch Can’t Save Us From Rising Seas’, via CityLab
‘Design and the Green New Deal’, via Places Journal

About the Sir Ian Athfield Memorial Lecture

Sir Ian Athfield, who passed away in 2015, was a singular and much-loved figure in New Zealand architecture. The annual lecture established in his honour and presented by a distinguished architect or commentator, is a free event staged in several cities during the Festival of Architecture.


Date and Time
Monday 23 September, 6:00pm
ASB Waterfront Theatre
Halsey Street
Wynyard Quarter
Book now


The Sir Ian Athfield Lecture Series is proudly sponsored by Resene.


Image: Rooftop garden at the Facebook campus in Menlo Park, along the San Francisco Bay. [Designed by CMG Landscape Architecture with Gehry Partners; photo by Trey Ratcliff]

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