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UNESCO: The Latest Architecture and News

Yemen’s Ancient High-Rises: How Conflict Erases Heritage

Skyscrapers are an unmissable characteristic of contemporary settlements. From São Paolo to New York, from Seoul to Dubai – these towering structures are a ubiquitous part of the urban fabric. The conventional image one has of these structures is of curtain-walled facades, but in Yemen – an ancient example goes against this trend. Central Yemen is home to the city of Shibam, surrounded by a fortified wall. It’s also home to a dazzling example of architectural ingenuity – tower houses that date back to the 16th century, stretching up to seven stories high.

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One Hundred Days of War in Ukraine: UNSECO Verifies Damage to 139 Sites

Friday, June 3, marks 100 days of war in Ukraine. One of the many devastating effects has been de destruction of urban and rural environments. Ukraine’s cultural and architectural heritage is under threat. As of 30 May, UNESCO has verified damage to 139 sites affected by the ongoing hostilities. The list includes 62 religious sites, 12 museums, 26 historic buildings, 17 buildings dedicated to cultural activities, 15 museums, and seven libraries. According to UNESCO, the most affected buildings included in the list are in Kyiv. Still, damages are also found in the regions of Chernihiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhya, Zhytomyr, Donetsk, Lugansk, and Sumy. This represents a preliminary damage assessment for cultural properties done by cross-checking the reported incidents with multiple credible sources. The published data will be regularly updated.

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Grafton Architects' Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara, and Anna Wirz-Justice Receive the 2022 Daylight Award

On the occasion of UNESCO’s International Day of Light, The Daylight Award has announced the 2022 Laureates; Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara of Grafton Architects for their architecture, and Anna Wirz-Justice for her research. The winners were commended for their continuous exploration and prominent humanistic spirit regarding the celebration of daylight in their respective practices, allowing it to celebrate and enhance the quality of life.

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Ukrainian Architectural Landmarks Face the Threat of Destruction

Ukrainian Architectural Landmarks Face the Threat of Destruction - Featured Image
Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash . ImageLviv

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine unleashed a major humanitarian and refugee crisis, with 4.2 million people fleeing into neighbouring countries and 6.5 displaced internally. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), 18 million people are projected to become affected in the near future with the current scale and direction of the ongoing military violence. In addition to the threat to human lives, Ukraine’s culture is also at risk, as cities and historic buildings are being destroyed. In March, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has expressed concern over the damage caused to historic landmarks in Ukraine and called for the protection of its cultural heritage. The following are some of Ukraine’s most prominent architectural landmarks, which are now in danger of being destroyed amid the conflict.

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UNESCO Expresses Deep Concern Over Ukrainian Landmarks and Takes Action to Protect Endangered Heritage

UNESCO Expresses Deep Concern Over Ukrainian Landmarks and Takes Action to Protect Endangered Heritage - Featured Image
Photo by Dima Pima on Unsplash . ImageLviv

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has expressed concern over the damage caused to historic landmarks in Ukraine and called for the protection of its cultural heritage. At the same time, the organization has taken action within its capabilities to help safeguard the endangered sites. Ukraine is home to seven World Heritage sites, including the 11th-century Saint-Sophia Cathedral and the entire ensemble of the Historic Centre of Lviv. In addition, several sites in the recently damaged cities of Kharkiv and Chernihiv were on the tentative list for potential nomination to World Heritage status.

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Architecture & UNESCO: Rethinking Preservation and Cultural Heritage

Architecture has always centered on permanence and ephemerality. Defined by material conditions, how we build is closely tied to what we preserve and how we conceptualize the future. Furthering international cooperation in education, the arts, the sciences, and culture, UNESCO is an organization that continues to examine the relationship between history and growth, preservation and change. As architecture, landscapes and cities become threatened by the climate crisis and unrest, cultural context becomes paramount.

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Barcelona named UNESCO World Capital of Architecture for 2026

Joining Copenhagen and Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona has been named as the UIA's 2026 World Capital of Architecture by UNESCO, and will be hosting the International Union of Architect’s World Congress two years after the event in Copenhagen. Barcelona and Beijing were both contenders for the 2026 title, but the Catalan city took the lead with its winning bid titled “One today, one tomorrow”, which explores the city’s approach to sustainability and the future of the built environment.

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UNESCO Removes Liverpool’s World Heritage Status and Spares Venice of In-Danger Designation

This month, UNESCO has announced a series of decisions concerning important heritage sites, giving rise to conversations around preservation and urban development. Last week, the World Heritage Committee decided to strip Liverpool of its heritage status, as the new developments are considered detrimental to the waterfront's integrity. These projects placed the city on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2012, a designation which Venice managed to avoid earlier this week, due in great part to the recent ban on cruise ships.

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Copenhagen named UNESCO World Capital of Architecture for 2023

Following Rio de Janeiro’s inaugural hold of the title, Copenhagen has been named World Capital of Architecture for 2023 by UNESCO and will host the International Union of Architect’s World Congress 2 years from now. At its second edition, the initiative supported by UNESCO in partnership with UIA is meant to highlight the role of architecture and urban planning in shaping a sustainable future and tackling global challenges. Designated triennially, the city World Capital of Architecture will become an international forum for debate around issues related to the urban environment.

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Meet the Winners for the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Mosul's Al Nouri Complex

Last November, UNESCO, the Iraqi Ministry of Culture, and the Iraqi Sunni Endowment jointly announced an international design competition for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the historical Al Nouri Complex in Mosul. One of the oldest cities in the world, Mosul ("the linking point" in Arabic) is beginning a recovery process following years of conflict, guided by an initiative aptly titled "Revive the Spirit of Mosul." The rehabilitation of the Al Nouri Complex, which dates originally to the twelfth century and has constituted a core facet of city life since, is a central part of this initiative, and is intended to signal the city's resilience, hope, social cohesion, and reconciliation in the aftermath of the conflicts. Six months after the competition was originally announced, winners have finally been chosen.

Mecanoo to Design New Macau Central Library in UNESCO World Heritage Site

Dutch design practice Mecanoo has shared initials details of the new Macau Central Library as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Designed for the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Macau SAR Government, the project will be located by the Tap Seac square on the site of the former Hotel Estoril, the first casino resort in Macau. Activating the square and public realm, the library will encourage visitors to uncover and utilize this new public amenity.

Unesco's World Heritage Sites Viewed from Space

In 1972 Unesco created the World Heritage Convention linking together the concepts of nature conservation and the preservation of cultural heritage. Based on the understanding that sites and monuments are threatened with deterioration or disappearance over time, the organization determines that those of outstanding universal value deserve special protection from the dangers they are facing. Therefore, the efforts to identify, protect, preserve, and value the sites included on this list are meant to safeguard and pass the world's cultural and natural heritage on to future generations.

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Jean Nouvel Designs Resort in Saudi Arabia, Hidden Within Rock Dwellings

Jean Nouvel has just unveiled his design for Sharaan, a resort hidden within the rock dwellings of AlUla, a cultural oasis in north-west Arabia. Showcasing a modern take on millennia-old ways of living, the project puts in place monumental designs carved into the rocks, respecting and preserving the landscape. Inspired by the nearby Hegra, Saudi Arabia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, the concept takes a curatorial approach bringing together landscape and history.

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Architecture Classic: al-Nouri Mosque / Nur ad-Din Zangi

Islamic architecture has been perhaps one of the most culturally significant typologies throughout history. Not only do the buildings themselves serve as centers for community and social services, but their designs reflect Muslim beliefs and morals, and reveal the rich history of nations in the Middle East.

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