ArCHIAM’s design work on display at UIA World Congress of Architects 2023

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Inside an exhibition hall with people looking at tall exhibition display boards

This year’s edition of the International Union of Architects (UIA) World Congress, Sustainable Futures – Leave No One Behind! took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 2nd to 6th July. Researchers, practitioners and students from around the world came together to discuss how we can design to combat climate change, increase biodiversity and promote social inclusion.

ArCHIAM’s design work was showcased as part of the exhibition Preserving the Past, Designing for the Future, which explored the vital relationship between sustainability, heritage and culture within architecture and urban environments. Organised by the UIA Heritage and Cultural Identity Work Programme, the exhibition, which took place at the Belle Center, Copenhagen, presented selected works of sustainable architecture and urban design from the “World Heritage Convention - 50th Anniversary Online Conference”, which celebrated the adoption of the World Heritage Convention signed in 1972.

Two images side by side showing the display boards and Archiam publications.

ArCHIAM presented two adaptive reuse projects of Omani vernacular architecture, in Salalah and Misfat al-Abriyin, the latter previously recognised with the prestigious UNWTO Best Tourist Village Award in 2021. The design schemes, which implemented some of the propositions of two distinct heritage management plans developed for the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism of Oman, demonstrated how to seamlessly integrate new programs and contemporary elements within restored traditional architecture. The designs, which developed out of extensive stakeholder participation and were executed thanks to non-governmental funding, prioritise the integration of passive design measures, turning the voids left by structural collapses into contemporary spaces that maximise natural lighting and ventilation, thus reducing reliance on mechanical cooling.

Dr Mohammad Habib Reza, a founding member of ArCHIAM who currently serves as the Co-Director of UIA's Heritage and Cultural Identity Work Programme, said “The UIA World Congress 2023 exhibition showcased on the world stage ArCHIAM's commitment to excellence in architectural intervention, heritage preservation, and sustainable urban design, informed by high-quality multidisciplinary investigations.” Prof Soumyen Bandyopadhyay, ArCHIAM Co-Director, who delivered a keynote at the UIA World Heritage Convention 50th Anniversary Conference in February said, “ArCHIAM’s work is significant because of its critical intellectual position vis à vis the conservation and management of heritage, and its belief that design-focused research and interventions are critical to a sustainable future of historical landscapes.”

Image credits: Samer Helmy Kasem