Reflections on UIA Durban 2014

 

From the 3rd – 7th August, 2014, Durban was privileged to be the host of the International Union of Architects (UIA) Conference. Architects, engineers, designers, technologists, planners, thinkers and writers from all over the world gathered at the Durban ICC and engaged the public with  lively and challenging talks, workshops, events and happenings.

The theme of this year’s conference was ” Architecture Otherwhere”. Quoted from the website, the heart behind this name:

“ The Congress will ponder the OTHERwhere by exploring ANYwhere-but-HERE – it creates a vagueness and uncertainty – stimulating creative engagement with the title and dialectic between concepts of uncertainty and certainty by defining what kind of OTHERwhere – suggesting an alternative way of existing through connectivity, togetherness – in Durban, in South Africa, in Africa, on the planet; personally and collectively.”

We wanted to give an inside scoop on the conference so we interviewed architect Gareth Knox, who was able to attend the renowned event.

Hey Gareth, please give us a brief description of the UIA event:

“The International Union of Architects World Congress is a triennial event held in an established host city, with the 25th edition of the event being hosted by Durban.

For this year’s UIA Congress, there were three days of talks and presentations with each day having a specific focus namely; Resilience, Ecology and Values. Though some of the keynote addresses were hijacked to push some form of political agenda or “observe protocol”, a majority of the talks did indeed address the themes of Resilience, Ecology and Values and brought to the fore architectural and building solutions that respond to issues on a global scale.”

There were some excellent speakers such as Toyo Ito and Mokena Makeka. Who was your favourite speaker/s and why?

 

“My favorite speaker was an architect by the name of Cameron Sinclair who is the CEO of a company called Architecture for Humanity. They are a volunteer non-profit organization set up to promote architecture and design to seek solutions to global social and humanitarian crisis. Cameron’s address was both highly entertaining (he won a Ted Talks award in 2012, so is a very accomplished public speaker) and the work put on display was of a high quality. 

Another one  of my favorite speakers was a Mexican architect by the name of Gerardo Salinas. His work was a great example of what an architect can accomplish when merging beautiful architecture with basic human needs.”

What sort of impact do you think this conference will have on Durbs?

“I feel it gives the city not just great international exposure to architects and engineer’s from around the world, but it sends a message that we are in fact a developing nation. Not just developing our infrastructure, but developing our city hand in hand with complex social, economic and cultural factors that are unique to most other cities around the world.”
To read more on what went down at the UIA conference, check out their website:  http://www.uia2014durban.org/

See below for some photos from the event:

{Images taken from uia2014durban.org}