Monday, August 4, 2014

Review of UIA 2014 Durban - Day 1

It's been a day full of amazing insight, hearing from some fantastic speakers in the Architecture community.
They are all at UIA 2014 Durban, the International Union of Architects World Congress.

Here are some of the highlights from the opening ceremony and my first day at the event:

  • 'Architecture is political' - Hilton Judin
  • 'Architecture otherwhere enables us to disrupt' - Hilton Judin
  • 'Architecture is cultural' - Hilton Judin
  • 'Architecture is social' - Hilton Judin
  • 'Architecture activates.' - Hilton Judin
The opening ceremony included a wonderful artistic dance piece all around Durban. 

The UIA President reminded us that 'Otherwhere is Africa.' 

The Durban Mayor welcomed the delegates and reminded everyone to visit Rivertown, Warwick Junction and the other Heritage sites in Durban. 

The Premier of KZN wanted slums removed and hoped that the architecture community would work with the government in this area. 

The Minister of Public Works posed some interesting questions: 'What role will architects play in global problems such as informal settlements? and 'What are we doing for the problem of homelessness?'   He reminded the audience that we need to create a build environment which is humane. 

Next I attended the Open Building Implementation Workshop.  They had some insightful speakers.
Find out more about them here -

We heard how Open Building has the idea of distinct levels.  Users / Inhabitants may give input on the design.

We were reminded that some open spaces have withstood the test of time.  Places where Festivals or Morning Markets are held.  

I also explored the Exhibition Centre where there was much on offer including another area for talks and various exhibtors.  

There is also a wonderful Mini-Film Festival on the go within the conference.  The Architect Africa Film Festival 2014.  In collaboration with DIFF 2014.  

Look out for some gems including:
  • Great Expectations
  • Microtopia
  • The Vision of Paolo Soleri
  • 9/11 Explosive Evidence
The festival runs from 4 August - 6 August at The Coast of Dreams Building - UIA 2014 Campus

I next managed to sit in on the keynote by Cameron Sinclair.  You can find him on Twitter @casinclair 
Some of the highlights from his keynote included:
  • 'I became an architect because I grew up in crappy housing.' 
  • 'How do we get architects to make a difference in society?'
  • 'How do we improve communities?'
  • 'When you are working with communities you have to hustle.'
  • 'You have to be incredibly creative.'
  • 'Architects spend decades perfecting their techniques'
He shared his insight into a community project he worked on in Haiti:
  • 'After 4 weeks nobody cares about a disaster i.e. the media.' 
  • 'Good funding comes from Individuals and Corporations.'
  • Children raised money for the funding of some of these projects.

He then shared insight about a community rebuild in Japan
  • The story of 1000 Paper Cranes
  • They asked for 1000 Paper Cranes from the community, a benefactor was willing to pay $1 for each crane, millions of cranes arrived, the benefactor agreed to pay $500 000. 
  • A wonderful story on the power of social media.
You can find more insight in this video:

The conference continues tomorrow
Tweet the good stuff  #UIA2014 

Article by +Fred Felton 
(Find him on Twitter @fredfelton)  

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