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The UIA World Congress of Architects meets in Copenhagen to discuss the future of design

Arc building in Copenhagen
Arc building in Copenhagen Copyright Rasmus Hjortshoj
Copyright Rasmus Hjortshoj
By Jonny Walfisz
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The International Union of Architects have convened for their triennial World Congress of Architects in Denmark. The congress features keynotes on sustainability in the industry as well as erecting 15 pavilions to show off experimental projects around Copenhagen.


Every three years, the International Union of Architects (UIA) comes together for the World Congress of Architects. The global event draws in some of the biggest names in the industry to discuss the state and future of architecture.

This year, the UIA’s congress has been taking place this week in the Danish capital Copenhagen. The theme is “Sustainable Futures — Leave No One Behind” and is based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the UN. These include things from ending poverty through building resilient infrastructure and making settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

With participants present from more than 135 countries, the UIA aims to be a unique space for idea transferal. “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, says Mette Lindberg, CEO of the UIA World Congress of Architects 2023.

“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’s about redefining the paradigm and building a future where the planetarian boundaries, inclusivity and biodiversity are at the core of every project”, Lindberg continues.

Anna Katrine Tan
The Raft pavillionAnna Katrine Tan

Beyond fascinating keynote speeches from architect Elizabeth Timme; Chilean Undersecretary of Housing and Urban Planning Gabriela Elgueta Poblete; and Siemens and Northvolt Chairman Jim Hagemann Snabe; the UIA World Congress of Architects has also erected multiple pavilions around the city for the public to interact with.

15 SDG pavilions have been set up around Copenhagen. They are all 1:1 scale projections of experimental architectural principles related to one or more of the UN SDGs.

Accessible to anyone, the pavilions have been built with an “emphasis on responsible consumption of materials with plans for recycling, reassembly or reuse after the exhibition = their afterlife.”

UIA World Congress of Architects
Reflections in CommonUIA World Congress of Architects

Pavilions include ‘The Raft’, designed by Marion de Saint Blanquat, Frederik Mads Svendsen, and Anna Katrine Tan to enjoy a sensory experience floating on one of Copenhagen’s canals. ‘Reflections in Common’ by Camilla Van Deurs gives people the chance to recontextualise images of themselves in a city through cleverly placed mirrors.

Whether you’re an architect at the top of your field, or just a member of the public with a passing interest in the future of design, there’s something for you at this year’s UIA World Congress of Architects.

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