The 25th biennial Monterey Design Conference, held October 25-27 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds, welcomed more than 800 attendees. Organized by AIA California, the conference draws architects and “design thinkers” for education academy sessions, guest speakers, access to multiple exhibits, tours, and more. Held just minutes away from the beach, MDC provides on inspirational place for design and architecture professionals to network.
The conference is also the setting for the announcement of AIA California’s Maybeck Award winner. The 2019 recipient is modernist architect Jim Jennings, who founded San Francisco-based Jim Jennings Architecture in 1975 and has focused on a project’s connection to its landscape and natural light through scale, space, form, and material.
Following morning education academy sessions, conference attendees heard from a number of headliner speakers, who were introduced by event emcee Reed Kroloff, dean of IIT College of Architecture in Chicago. They included Alberto Kalach, principal of Mexico City-based TAX—Taller de Arquitectura X; Lyndon Neri & Rossana Hu, partners at Shanghai-based Neri &Hu; and Yvonne Farrell, director of Dublin-based Grafton Architects. This year's Emerging Talents, also addressed the gathering, and included Chris Warren, principal of Los Angeles-based WORD/Warren Office for Research and Design.
Other participating speakers included Rick Archer, principal of San Antonio, Texas-based Overland Partners, who spoke about designing for users who are at risk; Gordon Huether, CEO of Napa-based Gordon Huether + Partners, who addressed art’s role in architecture; and Karen Tamley, commissioner for the Chicago Mayor’s office for people with disabilities, who spoke about urban design and accessibility. There were also fun afternoon events such as a behind-the-scenes tour of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, visits to three local modern homes, and a climate action meet-up.
The next Monterey Design Conference will be held in 2021.