by Dilpreet BhullarSep 11, 2022
Uniting the architects of the world through an association of their national organisations, the upcoming UIA – World Congress of Architects will be hosted in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2023. The congress which takes place every three years attracts over 10 to 15000 people from all over the world. This will be the first time the congress is hosted in a Nordic country. Scheduled for July 2 to July 6, 2023, the congress will be grounded by the theme ‘Sustainable Futures – Leave No One Behind’. The discourse, involving lectures, seminars, research presentations, exhibitions, and public cultural events will highlight architecture’s potential to shape better societies, in creating happier and livable cities, and contribute to a sustainable future.
Copenhagen ranks as one of the world’s most livable cities, presenting a combination of great culture, tolerance, global connectivity, green spaces, an efficient public transport system, and fascinating architecture. Danish and Nordic design, businesses and research institutions have a long-lasting tradition of pursuing sustainable solutions in the building and construction industry. In addition to serving as the stage of activities for the congress next year, the city of Copenhagen has also been officially designated as the World Capital of Architecture for 2023. As the second city to have received the title, following Rio de Janeiro in 2021, the award is presented by UNESCO and UIA and it aims to shed the key role of architecture, city planning, and culture in shaping urban identity and sustainable urban development.
The layered discourse of the UIA Congress in 2023 will encompass discussions on the pressing challenges of urbanism as well as sharing solutions and research learnings to arrive at collective sustainability targets. Overall the discourse will converge to ‘promote, discuss, create and showcase architecture as a vital tool to achieve the UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030’.
The event will gather some of the most promising names from the field of architecture who will congregate to brainstorm on how we can realise and manifest ‘a future that is inclusive and which leaves no one behind’. These speakers include eminent architects such as 2022 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize Francis Kéré, and Danish architecture firm BIG’s founder Bjarke Ingels, in addition to several noted names in the field which includes Chris Downey (Founder, Architecture for the Blind), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (award-winning writer), Elizabeth Timme (architect, co-founder, Office of Office), and Christian Benimana (architect, co-founder, African Design Centre). The speaker lineup also includes professionals from climate and sustainable development organisations, with names such as Connie Hedegaard (Chair of the EU Commission Mission Board on Adaptation to ClimateChange), Maria Neira (Director of the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health at WHO), and Ursula von der Leyen (President of the European Commission).
“The keynote speakers have each delivered unique contributions to architecture, science, politics and business, and we are proud that they are coming to Copenhagen. We are asking them to engage in dialogues which range across all the UN SDGs, and across cultures and climates. Together with the rest of the programme, we hope that the keynotes will help shape a vital understanding of the global challenges and inspire sustainable action in the built environment,” says Natalie Mossin, President of Congress, and Head of Institute at the Royal Danish Academy.
The congress was originally established in 1948 and has been an active platform to bring critical dialogues and discussions pertaining to the state of different geographies. In Copenhagen, over 10,000 participants from the building and planning industry are anticipated to be arriving for the grand conference. The 2023 iteration is expected to be even bigger given it is taking place after the pandemic and the accelerating climate change affecting global livability.