Keynote Speakers

Koen Olthuis

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Koen Olthuis studied Architecture and Industrial Design at the Delft University of Technology. In 2007 he was chosen as No. 122 on the Time Magazine list of most influential people in the world due to the worldwide interest in water developments. The French magazine Terra Eco chose him as one of the 100 green persons that will change the world in 2011. In 2015 he is selected by an international jury as one of fifty young innovators of the 21st century in the book “50Under50”. Building on water has become Olthuis’ life’s work, he is also known as the “Floating Dutchman”. With H2Ope he uses floating technology to upgrading life of the poorest. 

Richard Coutts

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Richard is the Team Principal at Baca Architects. Baca is an award-winning, research-led design practice specializing in integrated environmental and high-quality design. Baca in internationally recognized for innovation in flood-resilient and adaptable architecture and spatial planning. Richard has directed projects such as the Eiland Veur Lent and Nijmegen, a new “eco leisure” destination in The Netherlands; the Waterspace Strategy for UNESCO World Heritage Site - Liverpool South Docks and an array of high quality one-off architectural projects for private clients and one-off memorials for Her Majesties Royal Marines. Richard formerly worked for Sir Terry Farrell & Partners and Dr. Ken Yeang in Malaysia and Australia, including working as resident site architect for Guthrie Pavilion - Winner of Aga Kahn Best Building in Asia 2000. Richard is currently an advisor to No 10’s (UK Government) Flood Advisory Group and the RIBA Polity Team.

Saif Ul Haque

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Saif Ul Haque (b. 1958, Dhaka) is the Principal based architectural practice Saif Ul Haque Sthapati(SHS) and Director Research and Design Program at the Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes and Settlements at Dhaka, Bangladesh. He studied architecture at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology at Dhaka. He is involved in practice, research and education. His works include residential, institutional and industrial facilities at different locations in Bangladesh and has been published and exhibited in and outside Bangladesh. He has been a visiting faculty and reviewer at various institutions in and outside Bangladesh. His research interests include built heritage, architectural history and urbanism and has written on these topics. He has also been involved in organizing a number of exhibitions on architecture.

Rutger de Graaf

Rutger de Graaf is a water pioneer with a more than 12 years experience in floating urban development.  Rutger is civil engineer, entrepreneur and researcher with a PhD of Delft University of Technology where he studied innovative technologies and governance processes in urban water management to reduce the vulnerability of cities and improve their climate resilience. He is also applied research professor of water innovation at the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. His research topics include: resilience, innovative monitoring of climate adaptation measures and water quality. He is (co) author of multiple international books, book chapters, and peer reviewed journal articles. He is director and co-founder partner of DeltaSync and Blue21, and a co-author of iconic floating projects such as the Floating Pavilion Rotterdam and Floating Ecohomes, Harnaschpolder Delft, the Netherlands. His third company, INDYMO, develops and applies underwater drones for research on water quality and ecology.