Urban Worlds Meeting
by Alison B. Snyder
The UIA XXII World Congress of Architecture was held in the historic city of Istanbul, Turkey in July 2005. The week-long conference, with the theme Cities: the Grand Bazaar of ArchitectureS, stimulated ideas about designer responsibility and about how new architecture might be conceived for the 21st century.
The International Union of Architects (UIA), unites professional architects, teachers, and students from all over the world by promoting multidisciplinary exchange, sustainable development, and architectural education. Speakers and group sessions at the UIA's congress posed theoretical and real architectural and environmental paradigms for meeting these challenges.
At the opening ceremony held at Yedikule, a historic Byzantine and Ottoman fortress with seven towers, Turkish heads of state and architects spoke both joyously and cautiously about the importance of new architecture continuing a healthy urbanism.
Suha Ozkan, the congress president and secretary general for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, set the context. He suggested: "a pluralist world is emerging where humanity's differences are no longer sources of animosity or atrocities... architecture, as the profession that shapes our built environment, has an important ethical role, which brings with it enormous responsibility."
UIA president, Jamie Lerner of Brazil, recognizing political realities, observed, "the city in this polarized world is the way to make solidarity." He commented on educational and professional dichotomies: "we are proud of our 'star architects,' but we need a constellation of designers to work towards quality of life, dignity, mobility, sustainability, and solidarity." >>>
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The UIA XXII World Congress of Architecture was held in Istanbul, across the Golden Horn from Haghia Sophia (532 to 537), originally a Byzantine church, later a mosque, and now a museum.
Photo: Alison Snyder
The sun setting over the Marmara Sea highlights the Haghia Sophia (right) and the Blue Mosque (left) in Old Istanbul.
Photo: Alison Snyder
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