UIA 2014 will bring architects from around the world to debate their common concerns and interests – through an unashamedly African lens. African knowledge, African challenges and African opportunities will enter into a dialogue with the world.
South Africa’s concerns are strongly linked to Africa’s concerns. 2014 acknowledges the link between urgent human need for housing, infrastructure, basic services, employment and social development are acknowledged as being strongly linked to political decisions and economies. UIA 2014 is an opportunity for African architects to make their mark in the debate that perceives poverty eradication as a first unavoidable step in human progress. 2014 will explore how architects might play a pivotal role in addressing social inequalities. 2014 also explores concepts of sustainability through links to OTHER global initiatives and refers to COP 17 (Built Environment Charter) and RIO+20 (Soil Programme) – with a focus on urbanisation and the agricultural opportunities in and on the peripheries of cities.
A UIA congress in Africa is an opportunity – the ideologies we have lived by in the last 100 years have done their time and failed, the models aspired to in development are questionable – could we find alternative values in Africa? Could we re-discover a lost respect and responsibility for our natural environment, commitment to our communities, healthy social interaction? This is a continent which has developed as others saw fit – now is the time for Africa to lead in anOTHER way forward…
2014 will present alternative views of the OTHER, challenging false readings and architectural hegemonies. In 2014, African space will be recognised and communicated in a language that is accessible to people of the continent – Architecture will be presented as a construct of our own vocabulary – Africans will be recognised as equals in defining space. Africa has great consciousness of the interconnected nature of things – every action has a consequence. This is a consciousness that needs to be shared with the world – bringing greater wisdom to international architectural practice.
In exploring OTHER ways of ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’, unlocking the multiple voices of Architecture, 2014 shall demonstrate that Architecture is as much spatial and formal as it is political, ideological, economical and theoretical – thus having the potential to influence thinking and policy. Having emerged from a century dominated by engineered, mechanised solutions and the marketing machinery of popular culture, we intend to revisit the qualitative aspects of the world around us and, in so doing, recognise that what we build is not only utilitarian but is, in fact, a humanitarian act; an investment in the environment and people through Architecture – reflecting people’s aspirations, values and concerns. Durban is a city in which these adjacencies find resonance and frame a deep and meaningful quest to enrich the relationship between Architects and the communities which they serve.
The Congress will ponder the OTHERwhere by exploring ANYwhere-but-HERE – it creates a vagueness and uncertainty – stimulating creative engagement with the title and dialectic between concepts of uncertainty and certainty by defining what kind of OTHERwhere – suggesting an alternative way of existing through connectivity, togetherness – in Durban, in South Africa, in Africa, on the planet; personally and collectively.