Established by the International Union of Architects (UIA) in 1985, World Architecture day is held annually on the first Monday of October across the globe. It also coincides with the UN’s World Habitat Day.
This year, it was held this past Monday on 4 October, with the theme “Clean Environment for a Healthy World.” It aimed to highlight issues including public housing, public spaces, and the environment, in the midst of Covid-19.
According to UN Habitat, there are currently 1.6 billion people who lack adequate housing worldwide, while this number could rise to approximately 40 percent of the global population by 2030.
In light of the pandemic, the concept of shared buildings and public spaces have transformed. Governments, architects, and industry experts are now all looking at new and innovative ways to bring about safe and healthy spaces, while climate change and environmental sustainability continue to function as two new leading pillars in architecture and design.
The United Nations Environment Program estimates cities are responsible for 75 percent of global CO2 emissions, with transport and buildings the largest industries.
In light of this, new concepts such as biophilic design continue to gain popularity.
Biophilic design is an approach to architecture that looks to connect building occupants more closely to nature. Biophilic buildings incorporate elements such as natural lighting and ventilation, natural landscape features and other elements to create a more productive and healthier built environment.
Cape Town’s The Fynbos is one example of an impressive and innovative biophilic project that is currently underway.
“Architects are equipped to respond to the complex challenges of the built environment,” the UIA said in a statement. The Union’s Sustainable Development Goals Commission “works to create a bridge between the UN initiatives and the practices of architects around the world,” ensuring architects are not just responsive to new goals but instrumental in their implementation and evolution.
On Monday, the International Union of Architects hosted a free webinar that featured design, health, and sustainability experts from around the world, including UIA President José Luis Cortés, Tommy Valdez, a sustainable forestry advocate and president of the Society of Filipino Foresters, ans Ghanaian architect Richard Nii Dade. Nii Dade was instrumental in the construction of an infectious disease centre in Accra, built in just 100 days and comprising 100 beds.