UIA 2011 Tokyo

The XXIV World Congress of Architecture will be held in Tokyo during the autumn months of 2011 – just 12 years since the first congress was hosted by Beijing in 1999. The theme of the XXIV World Congress, “Design 2050”, will provide the opportunity for architects from all over the world to exchange views and share their visions of sustainable architecture, as well as help define the immediate future for the world’s cities and the environment. Tokyo is a fascinating city where the past meets the present and Japanese tradition coexists with contemporary culture. Such diverse contrasts will be evident just outside the main venue for the congress, where the Royal Palace and Akihabara (Japan’s premier showcase for state-of-the-art consumer electronics) are located in the same neighborhood.

Tokyo’s exemplary economic growth during the past several decades has fueled its development as a viably sustainable city. Consequently, Tokyo in itself is a harbinger of what we may expect from sustainable architecture by the year 2050. With this in mind, participants at the XXIV World Congress can expect to be welcomed and embraced by Japan’s rich architectural culture, which showcases they unique, yet contemporary, face of Japan.

Provisional Theme: “Design 2050” (To be approved bu UIA)
“Climate Change” is one of the most crucial concerns of the global community, stimulating active debate around the world about the post-Kyoto framework. Some governments have proposed a reduction in the world’s greenhouse gas emissions to 50 percent or even more of 2000 levels by the year 2050.

“Population” is another serious issue. While the global trend has been population explosion, Japan is experiencing a drastic shift towards an aged society due to low birth rates, and this is occurring in many other countries as well. These outcomes of “Forecasting” are the major drivers of change in “Design” for quality of life in a sustainable built environment.

Looking back to 1933, “The Athens Charter” drafted by Le Corbusier et al. at the CIAM that year became a worldwide urban and architectural formula throughout the 20th century. However, we have failed to replace this charter for the 21st century and the vision of a sustainable future remains intangible.

Hence, the strategy of “Backcasting”, which involves identification of a particular vision and tracing its origins and lines of development back to the present, is urgently required in the new paradigm arising from these pressing agendas. This is the very role of the “Architect” a profession that integrates ethics, aesthetics, technology, and economics into a holistic socio-cultural vision of the future.


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