From the National President

11 August

For two years, the Institute has been working on developing a bid to host the 2020 International Union of Architects (UIA) Congress in Melbourne. Yesterday we presented our formal bid at the General Assembly in Durban, alongside representatives from Paris and Rio (the other bidding cities), and votes were cast.

Having presented a strong case, we were optimistic; however, when it came down to it, Melbourne was not selected – Rio will instead be host city of the UIA Congress in 2020.

This was a very close competition. The bids for both Paris and Rio were very impressive. The first vote resulted in Paris being eliminated with the lowest score and no clear majority received by any of the bidding cities. In the second round Rio were successful with 107 votes compared to 95 for Melbourne.

While of course this news is disappointing, we applaud Rio for their tremendous campaign and they will be a great host city.

To the victors, we wish them all the very best for the next six years. In fact, we extend our thanks to the organisers of both Paris and Rio bids, who have been gracious and friendly competitors throughout this process.

Being in Durban has underscored the importance for me of these large scale events, for the host city, but more importantly for delegates who make the trip, and for the architectural profession more generally.

This year, for instance, the event has highlighted the link between urgent human need for housing, infrastructure, basic services, employment and social development and culture. The congress gets these issues out there – into the media, into public discourse. These events highlight and promote the importance of our profession in making the world a better place for all.

In addition to presenting the bid, while in Durban, the Institute has been instrumental in bringing to fruition an historic Declaration. Presented to the General Assembly on Friday by Institute CEO David Parken, the 2050 Imperative recognises the urgency of the UIA and its member organisations committing to a truly sustainable and equitable future:

We recognise our responsibility to seize this unique opportunity to influence ethical and socially responsible development throughout the world: to plan and design sustainable, resilient, carbon-neutral and healthy built environments that protect and enhance natural resources and wildlife habitats, provide clean air and water, generate on-site renewable energy, and advance more liveable buildings and communities.

By adopting the 2050 Imperative at the International Union of Architects (UIA) World Congress in Durban, the UIA and its member organisations and partners will send a strong message to the Parties of the UNFCCC, and to the world, that we are committed to a truly sustainable and equitable future.

The UIA is acutely aware that failing to act now on climate change will put future generations and those already affected by extreme weather, natural disasters, and poverty, at great risk.

This landmark declaration was approved unanimously and also was co-signed by 12 UIA partner organisations. Read the declaration in full here.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the team involved in the UIA 2020 bid for Melbourne. The organising committee made up of Paul Berkemeier, Committee Chair and Immediate Past President; Ross Clark, Chief Operating Officer; Alison Cleary, Victorian Chapter Manager; Jon Clements, Incoming National President; Louise Cox AM, UIA Past President; Daniela Crawley, National Project Manager; Ken Maher, Chairman International Executive, Hassell; Kerstin Thompson, Kerstin Thompson Architects; and Beverley Williamson, Associate Director of Bids, Melbourne Convention Bureau, all generously gave of their time, wisdom and efforts these past two years for which we are incredibly grateful. Thanks also to our presentation team of Jill Garner, Graham Burrows and William Chan who did an excellent job in front of a visual feast of images by John Gollings and David Pidgeon. We can all be very proud of our entire bid as it represented Melbourne and Australia in an inspiring way to an international audience.

Kind regards (from Durban),

David Karotkin