Thursday, 21 February 2008

XXIII UIA World Congress Torino 2008

World Architects’ Congress in Torino

For five years the Olympics have represented a great prospect for Torino, the outlook for the future in which strategies and action converge.

The city seems to be in a state of shock, radically transformed in its form, relations and aspirations. On what the future could promise, one might have a vague sense of bewilderment and embarrassment if, beyond the Olympics, important programmes for the city and its region had not been outlined immediately.

One of the certain dates is the 23rd UIA World Architects’ Congress, a date for Torino in July 2008, with ten thousand architects and architecture students awaited from around the world.
A peaceful invasion that will keep the city’s capacity to provide hospitality for visitors alive, attracting the attention of investors and confirming the opportunities already created for 2006, including job opportunities. The best forces in the public and private sector gathered around the bid of Torino, proposed by the Ordine Architetti (architects’ association), and the victory as host for the 2008 Congress was motivated by the great potential expressed.

The UIA (International Union of Architects) is a non-governmental body, in a network of over one hundred countries which organise the World Congress in a different country every three years. Each edition is dedicated to a specific theme, with debates, exhibitions, and visits that provide an extraordinary stage for cultural exchanges between professionals and students, as well as being an occasion for the involvement of the host city and celebration.

The theme of Torino 2008 is Transmitting architecture/Comunicare architettura. The concept of “communication” is vital for architects, as it means knowing how to describe a project, explaining and sharing it, representing and conveying a vision, the living environment and system of relations that stems from the realisation of these projects. In the end, it means raising awareness of the purposes of architecture, through the cultural diffusion and ethical expression of values and ideals.

As regards the programme, Riccardo Bedrone, President of the 2008 Congress, explains that the Congress in Torino has no intention of becoming an event that provides an undifferentiated offering, a sort of one-off architectural self-service centre. On the contrary, the theme proposed is very circumscribed and well-defined and, at the same time, sufficiently broad to also involve a public that goes well beyond the specialists in the field.

Architects constitute an organised and dynamic community (120,000 just in Italy). The goal of the Congress is to prick up ears, stimulating creativity and the desire to participate, creating implicitly a network of communication to raise awareness in citizens and make them more sensitive to architecture and to urban and environmental quality.

The "natural" target of the Congress of Torino is unquestionably the pool of architecture professionals from around the world, above all from Western Europe and the Mediterranean, to which we must add architecture and design students. Alongside these main groups, there is however a universe of people potentially interested, as vast as the themes tackled by the Congress, made up of administrators, producers and builders. A programme of work sessions is being prepared for everyone, hinged around the proposal of three main threads – policies, structures, technologies – with extra-disciplinary contributions, from the perspective of opening the profession up to the world.

A spectacular event, recounting architecture and the trade of the architect, will be the main attraction for the general public. At the same time as the Congress, a major international fair is also planned, while the city and the metropolitan area will become the stage for numerous side events, included in the circuit of a great celebration of architecture. The approach to 2008 will be made through key organisational and promotional steps: the Congress will soon adopt its own graphic identity and expand its Internet site.

As the direct voice of the Congress, it will become the sole, accredited point of reference for the events and sponsors, with constantly updated information and networking between architects.

Fondazione dell’Ordine Architetti of Torino

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