Today is World Architecture Day


October 4 is World Architecture Day, established by the International Union of Architects (UIA) in 1985 to be held on the first Monday in October to coincide with UN World Habitat Day.

The theme for 2021, “Clean environment for a healthy world,” addresses issues involving housing, public spaces, and the environment, all in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, more than 1.6 billion people worldwide lack adequate housing, according to UNHabitat. By 2030, that figure could rise to 40 percent of the global population.

Our concept of public buildings and shared areas have been transformed by the pandemic, and both architects and government officials are exploring new ways to envision safe and healthy spaces

Climate change is one of the most pressing crises of our time: The United Nations Environment Program estimates cities are responsible for 75 percent of global CO2 emissions, with transport and buildings the largest industries.

“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.

At 8a ET on Monday, the UIA will host a webinar with design, health, and sustainability experts from around the world, including UIA President José Luis Cortés, a former president of the Federation of Colleges of Architects of the Mexican Republic, and Ghanan architect Richard Nii Dade, who completed construction of a 100-bed purpose-built infectious disease center in Accra in just 100 days to treat COVID-19 patients.

Joining them are Ray Pentecost, director of the Center for Health Systems & Design (CHSD) at Texas A&M University’s College of Architecture; Tommy Valdez, a sustainable forestry advocate and president of the Society of Filipino Foresters; Maria Neira, director of the World Health Organization’s Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health; and former WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, now the inaugural dean of the Vanke School of Public Health at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

Moderating the panel will be Martha Thorne, dean of the IE School of Architecture and Design in Spain and a former executive director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize and architecture curator at the Art Institute of Chicago

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