No. 537 . 26 October 2011 

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UIA World Congress 2011

by C.B. Liddell

There were fears that the great earthquake that struck eastern Japan in March 2011 would in some way lessen the UIA World Congress recently held in Tokyo by the International Union of Architects (UIA).

Instead, the afterimage of disaster had the opposite effect, adding poignancy to proceedings and setting up an appropriate context for some of the main ideas explored at the three-day event. Many of these focused on how architecture can achieve a better balance with nature and the environment.

The congress was held at the Tokyo International Forum (TIF), the landmark conference center designed by Rafael Viñoly, recognized by its spectacular boat-shaped primary space.

Located near the Imperial Palace, as well as the central train station, the 24th World Congress of Architecture was opened by Emperor Akihito on Monday, September 26, and filled three days, through to the closing ceremony and official handover to the next hosts, Durban in South Africa, on the evening of Wednesday, September 28.

Conference and Context

In the days leading up to the congress there were several architecture-related events in the city, notable among them being the opening of a major exhibition at the Mori Art Museum, "Metabolism: The City of the Future," where Rem Koolhaas, among others, was seen in interested attendance.

The exhibit showcased the work of the Metabolists, an influential 1960s Japan-centered architectural movement that included many of the most renowned post-war architects, such as Arata Isozaki, Kisho Kurokawa, and Fumihiko Maki.   >>>



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