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Four US keynotes at International Union of Architects World Congress in Durban

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The 25th International Union of Architects World Congress, UIA 2014 Durban, opened at the International Convention Centre in Durban this evening, to run from August 3-7 in the Indian Ocean resort city. It’s the first time the congress is being held in Southern Africa.

The UIA is a non-governmental organization accredited by the United Nations. It represents professional associations of architects in 124 countries, and about 1.3 million architects worldwide.

UIA 2014 Durban is an opportunity for South Africa to showcase the development of its built environment in the 20 years since democracy. The Congress theme is Architecture Otherwhere, the intention being to acknowledge the built environment as a major force that can be harnessed towards a better life for all.

In support of this goal, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has endorsed UIA2014 as its patron.

Right now, more than half the world’s population is living in urban environments. Major challenges facing communities and the environment are resource scarcity; food and water security; and the loss of culture and local knowledge in a globalized society.

The congress program is being based on an in-depth investigation of cities, the way in which architecture is produced, and how communities interact with the built environment.

Among the keynote speakers and a strong contingent from the United States at the congress are:

Susannah Drake, the principal of Dlandstudio in the US, a multi-disciplinary design firm that reinvents and retrofits urban infrastructure to make it more ecologically productive. In 2013 Drake was honored with the Emerging Voices Award by the New York Architectural League; Urban Design Fellowship from the Design Trust for Public Space; and the Brunner & Young Architect Award from the AIA.

Edjohnetta Miller, the fiber artist, quilter, teacher, curator and lecturer is acknowledged to be one of the most creative and colorful improvisational quiltmakers in the US. Internationally, her quilts can be found in many important museums, corporate and private collections including, The National Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; Nelson Mandela's National Museum in Cape town, South Africa; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Conn.; and the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden, Co.

George H. Miller is a managing partner with Pei Cobb Freed & Partners Architects. He has worked with I. M. Pei since 1975 and collaborated on many of his significant projects. Notable projects that Pei completed during this period include the Grand Louvre, Paris; the Miho Museum, Japan; the Bank of China, Hong Kong; and the Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar. Other significant projects include the Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas; The Musee d’Art Moderne, Luxembourg; and Choate Rosemary Hall Science Center, Connecticut where Miller acted as Managing Partner.

In recognition of his lifetime of notable contributions to the profession, George H. Miller received the highest honor bestowed by the New York State Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the James William Kideney Gold Medal Award. Miller is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and served as the Institute’s National President in 2010. He is currently the President of the AIA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Institute.

Cameron Sinclair is the co-founder and former CEO for Architecture for Humanity, and co-author of the bestselling book Design Like You Give A Damn. He is a recipient of the TED prize, a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, a Senior Fellow of the Design Futures Council (2011) and an advisor at USAID. He is currently the Executive Director of the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, working on projects in Namibia and Ethiopia in addition to Asia and the US.

See the UIA 2014 Durban website for more on the event.

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