Powering ahead towards World Architecture Congress

10 June 2014

In just under two months Durban will welcome ‘The World Cup of Architects’, when approximately 5000 delegates are expected to descend on the International Convention Centre Durban (ICC) for the 25th World Congress on Architecture, UIA2014 Durban, for the largest gathering of architects ever held in the southern hemisphere.

From 3-7 August 2014, the Congress, will bring together architects, design and built environment professionals, pioneers in urban planning and thinking, activists, city makers, academics and researchers, students, Government officials, decision makers and thought leaders, citizens and communities – to debate and discuss alternative strategies for the design and delivery of more habitable, functional and beautiful cities.

The Programme, has been devised to explore the overarching Congress theme of ‘architecture OTHERWHERE’, as well as the themes of Resilience, Economy and Values, and to further conversations around critical built environment issues in South Africa, Africa and the world.

The impressive clutch of high-profile Speakers, all leaders in their respective fields, will lead a series of keynote panel debates and academic discussions, as well as present keynote addresses. The line-up includes renowned international personalities, as well as local specialists and professionals.

International keynote presenters include Susannah Drake (USA), 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner, Toyo Ito (Japan), Francis Kéré (Burkina Faso), Rahul Mehrotra (India), Joe Osae-Addo (Ghana), Gerardo Salinas (Mexico), Cameron Sinclair (USA) and 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize-winner, Wang Shu (China). Sindile Ngonyama and Wally Serote will fly the flag for South Africa.

A number of parallel sessions at the ICC will cover specific areas of focus that relate to the Congress theme and intentions. These include the role of Built Environment Professionals in Spatial Transformation; Sustainable Human(e) Settlements; Housing and Healthcare (sustainable architecture under conditions of change); Open Building; and Addressing Informality through Design Education and Practice.

An extensive Student Programme, convened with the assistance of local Architectural students, forms an integral part of the main event, offering young professionals of the future the opportunity to meet and engage with students and professionals from around the world.

Running alongside the Congress, delegates will be able to explore Durban in new and unexpected ways, through a broad range of Fringe Events, UIA2014 Parallel Projects, exhibitions, film screenings, tours and walkabouts, cultural events, social and networking activities. These events will be open to the people of Durban to share in and experience.

Open to the public, a Trade Expo in the Durban Exhibition Centre (DEC), promises to offer the latest product developments, technological innovations, and service offerings in the world of architecture and design.

UIA 2014 will be used as a launch pad for a three urban regeneration projects, which are starting to gain traction in the lead-up to the event. Each one focuses on stimulating interest in the built environment sector and focus on Durban’s inner city.

These include:
* The activation of a section of Pixley Ka Seme Street (formerly West), showcasing what is possible with the creation of a high quality, pedestrian-priority public space – for people who live and work in the City to relax, exercise and play.
* The activation of the Rivertown Precinct provides an opportunity for regeneration in the inner city. Arts and culture initiatives and exhibitions will be run during the Congress to show the opportunities that exist for bringing investment, sustainability and vibrancy back to the area.

* Pocket Parks –these projects aim to bring nature and delight back to the city, providing a place for relaxation, play areas for children and small spaces for activities, events or street cafes, where people can socialize, share laughter and conversation.

UIA 2014 Durban Keynote Speakers at a glance

Born in Gando, a small village in Burkina Faso, Francis Kéré studied architecture in Berlin where he then founded his office Kéré Architecture and the non-profit association Schulbausteine für Gando. The main focus of his work is on the use and development of local materials and techniques; the adaptation of new technology in simple ways; and the potential of local communities.

Trained at the Architectural Association in London, Joe Osae-Addo is the CEO of Constructs R+D, an ‘innov-native’ (TM) research and development company and the Chairman of ArchiAfrika Foundation, a non-profit organisation engaged in the promotion of African design and architecture.

Sindile Ngonyama is the principal director of Ngonyama Okpanum and Associates, which focuses on projects in basic education, higher education, primary healthcare facilities, large scale hospital projects, rural community service centres, large scale transportation and sporting facilities. He is the current President of the South African Institute of Architects.

Rahul Mehrotra, architect and educator, works in Mumbai and teaches at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, where he is Professor of Urban Design and Planning, and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design as well as a member of the steering committee of Harvard’s South Asia Initiative.

Cameron Sinclair is the co-founder and former CEO for Architecture for Humanity, and co-author of the bestselling book ‘Design Like You Give A Damn’. He is a recipient of the TED prize, a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council (2011) and an advisor at USAID. He currently works for the Pitt Jolie Foundation.

Susannah Drake is the Principal of DLANDSTUDIO in the USA, a multi-disciplinary design firm that reinvents and retrofits urban infrastructure to make it more ecologically productive. In 2013 Drake was honored with the Emerging Voices Award by the New York Architectural League; Urban Design Fellowship from the Design Trust for Public Space; and the Brunner & Young Architect Award from the AIA. 

Gerardo Salinas studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and is currently a partner of Rojkind Arquitectos, a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and a member of the Mexican College of Architects. In 2008, the American Institute of Architects, Denver Chapter, named Salinas ‘Young Architect of the Year’.

Architect/Professor Wang Shu established the Amateur Architecture Studio with his wife Lu Wenyu in 1997. He’s been working and doing research on the re-establishment of contemporary Chinese architecture, which reflects in his projects including the Ceramic Houses, New Campus of China Academy of Art in Ghangzhou and the Ningbo Historic Museum. He serves as the head of the School of Architecture at the highly regarded China Academy of Art. He is the winner of numerous architectural prizes including the Schelling Architecture Prize in 2010 and the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2012. He received the Gold Prize of Architecture from France Architecture Academy 2011. He was the Kenzo Tange Visiting Professor at the Harvard GSD in 2011.

Dr. Mongane Wally Serote was previously a member of Underground armed cadre Umkhonto We Sizwe. He currently holds numerous prominent positions.

He is currently the Chairman of the board of JOBURG THEATERS, a board member of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, Associate Professor at UNISA, African Renaissance Foundation chairperson, Indigenous Knowledge System of SA and Freedom Park CEO (a national heritage project in Pretoria). He is a well-known and awarded author with numerous titles to his name including poetry, essays and novels. He is a graduate of Columbia University and worked for the African National Congress in their Arts and Culture Department.

Toyo Ito is a Japanese architect, born in Seoul 1941, whose work and awards pervade the realm of architecture. He graduated in 1969 and founded his studio, Urban Robot, in 1971 in Tokyo. Toyo is currently the Honorary Fellowship of both the AIA and the RIBA, whilst holding the title of Commissioner of Kumamoto Artpolis. Between 1986 and 2013, Toyo has amassed 19 awards, his most recent being the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2013. His designs have been showcased at the Venice Biennale and the Royal Institute of British Architects has honoured him with The Royal Gold Medal. Toyo’s work has contributed significantly to the educational front in Japan as well as represented Japanese design on the international stage.

For more information or to register for the Congress visit


Media Enquiries: Joanne Hayes, Tumbleweed Communications
Cell: +27 83 6277249 e-mail: [email protected]

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