IV International Architecture Congress: Change of Climate
Baluarte de Pamplona, June and July 2016
Written by Luis Fernández-Galiano
Following the first congress, which took place in June 2010 under the motto ‘Architecture: More for Less,’ the second, held in June 2012 under the theme ‘Architecture: the Common,’ and the third, celebrated in June 2014 under the title ‘Necessary Architecture,’ always at the Baluarte Center of Pamplona, the fourth congress of the Fundación Arquitectura y Sociedad has been convened in the Navarrese capital to address the ‘Change of Climate’ in architecture, a field undergoing a deep transformation as the urgencies posed by climate change call for a rethinking of how to make buildings and cities: architecture changes to change the world.
The initial congress was attended by Renzo Piano, Jacques Herzog, and Glenn Murcutt, three holders of the Pritzker, architecture’s Nobel, along with Harvard’s and Columbia’s architecture school deans, the philosopher Slavoj Zizek, and others from fi ve continents. The second encounter brought in three other Pritzker laureates – Norman Foster to open the symposium and two Iberian masters, Rafael Moneo and Eduardo Souto de Moura, to close it – to head a distinguished cast of international architects. The third, like its predecessors, put veteran fi gures like Dominique Perrault side by side with architects with shorter but equally brilliant careers, and ended with the presence of the fi rst Iberian ever to receive the Pritzker, Álvaro Siza.
The first three congresses proposed tools for dealing with our lingering crisis; the fourth endeavors to throw light on the need for change in architectural attitudes if our environment and the lives of people are to improve. To this end we again bring together world architects and figures of different countries known to combine professional excellence with attention to sustainability and architecture’s social dimension. The title of this year’s congress refers as much to the change of climate taking place in architecture, which the crisis has put at an economic and ethical crossroads, as to the importance of architecture and planning when facing the challenges posed by climate change, perhaps the most pressing matter of our time.
If the first congress (‘More for Less’) advocated austerity, the second (‘The Common’) called for solidarity based on what we share, and the third (‘Necessary Architecture’) denounced the superfluous in favor of the indispensable – “The necessary, but no less than the necessary” –, this fourth congress seeks to examine the current situation of architecture by simultaneously addressing the ongoing transformation of its academic and professional base, which perhaps signals a change of paradigm in how it is understood and practiced, and the relevant role that construction and the city play in climate change, given that most of the energy we consume and most of the carbon dioxide we release in the burning of fossil fuels ultimately comes from the way buildings are conceived and territories are occupied: architecture needs a change of climate, and climate change needs to be tackled from the angle of architecture.
Published in urbanNext: