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United Nations: The Latest Architecture and News

The 60th Edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano is Now Open

The 60th edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano is taking place from 7th to 12th June 2022 at Rho Fiera Milano. This edition has been built collectively around fundamental trains of thought and work: the opportunities and responsibility of design, inclusion and environmental responsibility, demand for and the culture of design. It will serve as a showcase for the progress made by creatives, designers, brands, and companies.

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Tents: An Architectural Language

It’s a ubiquitous architectural form. An architectural typology that spans centuries and borders, a staple across cultures. The tent. In its simplest form – it’s a shelter, with material draped over a frame of poles. It’s an architectural language that is intrinsically linked to nomadic living. Yurts, for instance, functions as an easily portable dwelling for the Kazakh and Kyrgyz peoples. At the same time, tents have proved a popular stylistic precedent for architects, the lightweight structures of German architect Frei Paul Otto being a case in point. The tent is a complicated architectural language – one that straddles the line between temporary and permanent, and one that also functions as a symbol of wealth and a symbol of scarcity.

Tents: An Architectural LanguageTents: An Architectural LanguageTents: An Architectural LanguageTents: An Architectural Language+ 9

What Does the Future Hold for Coastal Cities Following the Aftermaths of Climate Change?

Coastal cities have always been a point of attraction for residents, tourists, and businesses. Alongside the aesthetic features, their proximity to the sea has made these cities a focal point for maritime transportation with the construction of ports, as well as hotspots for recreational and aquacultural activities. However, the past decades saw these particular regions threatened with a shortened lifespan; rising water levels, floods, and recurring cyclones, along with other natural disasters, have endangered coastal communities, putting their population, ecosystem, and built environment at risk. 

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The IPCC’s Latest Report Highlights the Impacts, Adaptations, and Vulnerabilities of Climate Change

Following an extensive report on the impacts of climate change last year, the second installment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nation's body for assessing the science related to climate change, addresses the current and anticipated impacts of climate change on ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities across the globe, along with action plans on how the natural world and human societies could adapt to these changes before reaching an "irreversible" state.

The IPCC’s Latest Report Highlights the Impacts, Adaptations, and Vulnerabilities of Climate ChangeThe IPCC’s Latest Report Highlights the Impacts, Adaptations, and Vulnerabilities of Climate ChangeThe IPCC’s Latest Report Highlights the Impacts, Adaptations, and Vulnerabilities of Climate ChangeThe IPCC’s Latest Report Highlights the Impacts, Adaptations, and Vulnerabilities of Climate Change+ 6

SOM Proposes to Transform the Built Environment into a "Forest" of Absorbing Carbon at COP26

"What if the built environment could be a solution to the climate crisis, rather than part of the problem? What if buildings could act like trees – capturing carbon, purifying the air, and regenerating the environment?" Responding to these questions, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) has proposed Urban Sequoia, an architectural concept inspired by the ecosystem at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow - COP26. The design features “forests of buildings" that isolate carbon and produce biomaterials that create a new ecological and resilient urban environment.

SOM Proposes to Transform the Built Environment into a Forest of Absorbing Carbon at COP26SOM Proposes to Transform the Built Environment into a Forest of Absorbing Carbon at COP26SOM Proposes to Transform the Built Environment into a Forest of Absorbing Carbon at COP26SOM Proposes to Transform the Built Environment into a Forest of Absorbing Carbon at COP26+ 5

World’s Cities Day 2021: Resilience, Climate Crisis and Sustainable Urbanization

As cities grow in scale, dimensions, and amplitude, taking in 60% of the world population, the United Nations has designated the 31st of October as “World Cities Day”, an opportunity to talk furthermore about global urbanization, addressing challenges, encouraging opportunities across borders and highlighting responses. Focusing this edition on the theme of “Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience”, this day, part of Urban October, seeks to raise awareness about the climate crisis and its repercussions on the built environment.

Cities, at the center of the global challenges, are hubs for institutions, society, economy, commerce, and transportation. Understanding the importance of “Thinking the City”, we have compiled in this roundup, articles published by ArchDaily’s editors that offer planning tools and guidelines, tackle the different components of the urban realm and highlight worldwide as well as contextual questions and responses.

At COP26 Architects Plan on Urging Decision Makers to Establish Tangible Action Against Climate Change

Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@danist07?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Danist Soh</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/photos/91AQt9p4Mo8?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>
Photo by Danist Soh on Unsplash

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) debuted yesterday in Glasgow, bringing together more than 190 world leaders, with the aim of accelerating action to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement and UN's Convention on Climate Change. Leading architecture organizations and figures are attending the two-week summit to show the AEC's industry's commitment to reduce carbon emissions and urge decision-makers to implement clear targets to achieve global climate goals.

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IPCC’s Latest Report Reveals Widespread and Intensifying Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN's body for assessing the science related to climate change, has recently published a comprehensive report documenting the extent of global warming. The paper provides new time estimates for crossing the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold, urging immediate and large-scale action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Following the publication of the report, UK Architects Declare has issued a statement inviting decision makers to a dialogue on how to collectively address the climate crisis while at the same time calling for the design professionals to re-evaluate their practice to support meaningful change.

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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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AMO Brings a Version of Countryside Exhibition At the United Nations Headquarters

OMA's research and publication branch AMO has taken over the fences of the United Nations Headquarters in New York for a public exhibition showcasing a follow-up of the 2020 Countryside, The Future project. Curated by Rem Koolhaas and Samir Bantal, director of AMO, Countryside at the United Nations, invites reflection and public discussion on the topics of agricultural innovation, ecological change and food production in anticipation of the UN Food Systems Summit taking place in September 2021.

AMO Brings a Version of Countryside Exhibition At the United Nations HeadquartersAMO Brings a Version of Countryside Exhibition At the United Nations HeadquartersAMO Brings a Version of Countryside Exhibition At the United Nations HeadquartersAMO Brings a Version of Countryside Exhibition At the United Nations Headquarters+ 13

BIG and UN Collaborate on Floating, Modular Eco-City

As part of UN-Habitat’s New Urban Agenda, Bjarke Ingels Group has proposed a vision for the world’s first resilient and sustainable floating community, designed to accommodate 10,000 people. “Oceanix City” is a response to the prediction that by 2050, 90% of the world’s largest cities will be exposed to rising seas, resulting in mass displacement, and the destruction of homes and infrastructure. The scheme is anchored in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, enacting circular flows of food, energy, water, and waste.

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SPARK Architects' 3D Printed "Big Arse Toilet" Transforms Waste into Energy in India

In support of World Toilet Day on November 19, SPARK Architects launched their prototype for a 3D printed toilet module titled, "Big Arse Toilet" alongside a slogan stating that "Sparks gives a sh*t." Though the pun-filled humor is definitely attention-grabbing, the project tackles serious issues of hygiene and sanitation as part of the UN initiative to eliminate open defecation by 2025. With the perpetuating cycle of malnutrition, disease, and poverty, poor sanitation is the leading cause in nearly a third of the deaths in low- and middle-income regions in several countries such as India.

Easily transportable, the toilet module converts human waste into biogas into electricity using a micro combined heat and power (CHP) unit. Essentially producing "free" energy, SPARK's proposal combats the issue of open defecation and uses the abundant natural waste in remote communities in Indian villages where there is low accessibility to electricity.

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Alternative Ways for Architects to Architect

The more architecture students that I converse with, the more I hear this common dissent amongst them: “I don’t want to become an architect.” Despite participating in long studio hours for a five-year professional degree, somehow very few peers actually want to become the kind of architects that create buildings.

Aside from the conventional alternatives of interior or graphic design, there is a rising trend in the popularity of firms that use architectural skills for beyond the scope of designing luxury condominiums for wealthy clients. For prospective architects (and current ones), below are examples of firms that may not be what one initially imagines to do with their degree, but a taste of the potential of what they can.

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UN and Yale University Unveil "Tiny House" as the Future of Eco-Living

In an effort to spark public discussion and new ideas on how sustainable design can manifest as decent, affordable housing, Yale University has collaborated with UN Environment and UN-Habitat to unveil a “tiny house” fully powered by renewable energy. At 22-square-meters, the eco-house is designed to “test the potential for minimizing the use of natural resources such as water.”

The prototype was unveiled during the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, constructed from locally-sourced, bio-based renewable materials. While the first prototype is designed for the climate and context of New York, future iterations can be adapted for site-specific conditions around the globe. Design and fabrication of the module was carried out by Gray Organschi Architecture, working in direct partnership with the Yale Center for Ecosystems in Architecture.

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Álvaro Siza and Others Imagine Possible Scenarios for a Reconstructed Syria

Sketch for Syria, a project initiated by by Marco Ballarin and Jacopo Galli at IUAV, Venice, has brought together 150 architects from 26 nations in a large-scale effort to "imagine, trace and share possible scenarios" for Syria, following the recent devastation of the lives of its citizens and a significant amount of its architectural heritage.

In response to the United Nations' (UN-ESCWA) drafting of an agenda on July 14th, 2016 to consider ways of reconstructing the country, this drawing project has attracted contributions from the likes of Álvaro Siza, Philippe Rahm, Peter Wilson, and Francisco Aires Mateus.

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Shigeru Ban to Design Up to 20,000 New Homes for Refugees in Kenya

Pritzker Prize winning architect Shigeru Ban has signed an agreement with UN-Habitat, the United Nations agency tasked with guiding sustainable development, to design up to 20,000 new homes for refugees in Kenya’s Kalobeyei Refugee Settlement. Currently home to more than 37,000 refugees, the settlement is quickly outgrowing its original capacity of 45,000 – over 17,000 have arrived this year alone, with numbers expected to continue to increase.

“The key thing will be to design and construct shelter where no or little technical supervision is required, and use materials that are locally available and eco-friendly. It’s important that the houses can be easily maintained by inhabitants.”