UIA – Celebrating 75 Years in the ‘First Nordic Congress’

In the year 1948, UIA – The International Union of Architects was established to unite world architects through an association of their respective national’s organizations. Celebrating its Diamond Jubilee Anniversary in 2023, the UIA has seen immense growth from a mere 27 delegations in 1948 to an estimated 1.3 million architects from more than 100 countries. Recognized by UNESCO as the only architectural union operating globally, the UIA is an international non-governmental organization.

UIA Logo

Under the Presidency and direction of the UIA President, the Coordinating Council is responsible for the establishment of the general principles governing the UIA World Congress in Copenhagen, the monitoring and orientation of the preparatory works, the achievement of coordination and cooperation among different parties, as well as the management of the agreement signed between the UIA and the Danish Association of Architects. Every three years, the UIA organizes a World Congress of Architects. For the very first time, the World Congress of Architects is being held in a Nordic country Denmark. The Nordic Section of the UIA, comprising of Denmark, Finland, The Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, had won the bid to host the World Congress of Architects in Copenhagen from the 2nd to the 6th of July 2023.

Tower of Wind Pavilion / Photographer: Christian Fogh Ark

The last World Congress of Architects was held at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2021. Seoul, Durban and Tokyo had previously hosted the World Congress of Architects in 2017, 2014 and 2011 respectively. The 75th edition of the World Congress of Architects will not only explore, but also highlight architecture’s potential to shape better societies and create a more sustainable built environment. Keynote dialogues, presentations and exhibitions in Bella Center, guided tours, social events and experimental pavilions all around Copenhagen are the highlights of the 5-day convention.

VELUX Living Places Copenhagen Pavilion / Photographer: Adam Mørk

Mette Lindberg, CEO of the UIA World Congress of Architects 2023 enthused, “We believe that a decade from now, participants of the congress will reflect on how this event in Copenhagen became the catalyst for redefining their practices. Our mission is to encourage the built environment to discover new ways to design and build what is not only environmentally sustainable, but also socially sustainable. It is about redefining the paradigm and building a future where the planetarian boundaries, inclusivity and biodiversity are at the core of every project.”

Bricks in Common Pavilion / Photographer: Sandra Gonon

Architects and industry professionals from more than 135 countries are attending the Diamond Jubilee Anniversary of the UIA World Congress of Architects in Copenhagen, Denmark. The unique platform offers the great opportunity to share knowledge, build bridges of communications across continents, one-to-one interactions, exchanging ideas, and not forgetting to build collaborations for a positive change in the world’s architectural landscape.  

BLOX, Copenhagen / Photographer: Rasmus Hjortshoj

This year, the overarching theme of the World Congress of Architects is “Sustainable Futures – Leave No One Behind”. Distinguish speakers of the world will highlight how architecture can be an essential tool to achieving the goals, and the content will revolve around the 17 UN SDGs – Sustainable Development Goals.

Bjarke Ingels / Photographer: REFORM Sofie Mathiassen

There will be more than 400 Speakers at the World Congress of Architects. Some of them include leading global voices and thought-leaders, who were selected based for their strong contributions to architecture, science, business and politics. Some of the prominent speakers are Bjarke Ingels (BIG), Carlo Ratti (MIT And Carlo Ratti Associati), Christian Benimana (MASS Design Group and The African Design Centre), Dorte Mandrup (Dorte Mandrup A/S), Francis Kéré (Kéré Architecture), Jan Gehl (Gehl), Jeanne Gang (Studio Gang), Jesica Amescua Carrera & Mariana Ordóñez Grajales (Comunal) and Junya Ishigami (Junya Ishigami + Associates).

Yasmeen Lari

Kjetil Trædal Thorsen (Snøhetta), Kunle Adeyemi (NLÉ), Margrethe Vestager (EU Commission), Martha Thorne (The OBEL Award), Martha Schwartz (Martha Schwartz Partners), Mette Skjold (SLA), Nathalie De Vries (MVRDV), Nyasha Harper-Michon (Archtivist), Oleksandr Kubrakov (Deputy Prime Minister for Restoration of Ukraine), Reinier De Graaf (OMA, Office for Metropolitan Architecture), Sandi Hilal (DAAR), Xu Tiantian (DnA – Design and Architecture), Yasmeen Lari (Heritage Foundation of Pakistan), Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (Atelier Bow-Wow) and Yvonne Farrell & Shelley Mcnamara (Grafton Architects) are also included in the distinguish list.

ARC, Copenhagen / Photographer: Rasmus Hjortshoj

At the World Congress of Architects, visitors can explore 15 architecture pavilions around the Copenhagen city designed by a diverse group of young and established Danish architecture studios. ‘SDG Pavilions’ are 1:1 experimental projects for the World Capital of Architecture and the UIA World Congress of Architects in Copenhagen. The explorative pavilions will greet visitors on selected locations in Copenhagen, including the city’s iconic harbour area. Each pavilion is the result of collaboration between architects, engineers, material producers, science institutions, associations, and foundations, all relating to one or more of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Kroyers Plads / Photographer: Martin Heiberg

Photo Courtesy: UIA – The International Union of Architects

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