Positive Feedback

thankuConsidering the positive comments received by the AUA President and SAIA President from various participants after the Congress,it is appropriate to conclude that UIA 2014 Congress was a huge success. Well done AFRICA. Find below some of the feedback…


To AUA President
On behalf of the Organization Committee of UIA Durban 2014 and the South African Institute of Architects we hereby thank you for your support and participation in the above event. Your participation underlined the support of the AUA and highlighted the Leadership role of the AUA on the Continent. At the UIA General Assembly which followed the Congress, one of the Past Presidents of the UIA, Mr. Rod Hackney said that in his opinion, of the 13 UIA Congresses he has attended, this was the best. The core team of the Durban 2014 Organisation Committee (Hassan Asmal; Karen Eicker; Amira Osman; Nina Saunders; Eric Noir) were given a standing ovation by the more
than 250 Members of the UIA General Assembly after presenting the outcomes of the congress on the last day of the GA. We also attach herewith a letter received from another Past President of the UIA which is self-explanatory.
Hassan Asmal, President Organisation Committee – UIA Durban 2014

To SAIA President
The UIA Durban 2014 Congress was, undoubtedly, an unqualied success. Not least because it was a people-oriented Congress, as no other has been in the past. This was also evident in the friendliness of the atmosphere that permeated the venues where the events were held To you and to the whole team that worked so hard to achieve this fantastic end result, I can only say Congratulations and Thank You, because you did the UIA proud and you have also set standards to be emulated in the future. The Congress was very good for the image of South Africa and very particularly for the international image of the South African Architects. There can also be no doubt that visiting Architects went back to their respective countries convinced of the quality of South African Architecture. The benets of this are not to be underestimated and will ripple down all the way to students wishing to become internees.
Vassilis Sgoutas, UIA Past President, Hon. Fellow SAIA

Dear President Tokunbo Omisore,
I hope this letter ands you well. It was such a pleasure to meet you in Durban, South Africa, for the 2014 UIA World Congress and Assembly last month. It was a spectacular gathering and I was honoured to lead the USA Delegation at such an important event. Thank you, once again, for your outreach. It is an important rst step towards re-establishing the relationship between our organizations, especially at a time that it is so critical that we work together for the good of our members and our world. I look forward to continued exchange and co-operation between the AIA and the Africa Union of Architects.
Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA 2014, AIA President


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Winners receiving their prizes at the Award ceremony on Wednesday 6th August during 25th UIA World Congress in Durban, South Africa. The Jury, which comprised UIA Bureau Members: Albert Dubler (President), Louise Cox, (Past President), Michel Barmaki, (Secretary General), Patricia Emmett, (Treasurer) and Vice-Presidents Antonio Raffaele Riverso, Deniz Incedayi, Thomas Vonier, Mohamed Esa and Ali Hayder, met in Melbourne, Australia on 5th May 2014 to adjudicate the entries.

Host of the Congress and President of SAIA, Ngonyama Sindile, giving his speech as Keynote Speaker at the Opening Ceremony George Miller receives the UIA Gold Medal Award, on behalf of IM Pei, from UIA President, Albert Dubler Hassan Asmal, UIA2014 President, receives the UIA Insignia of Honour on behalf of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu Official Closing Ceremony on Thursday 7th August 2014
A downloadable gallery of images is available here

UIA World Congress, Durban 2014, DECLARATION 2050 IMPERATIVE (extract)


By adopting the 2050 IMPERATIVE at the International Union of Architects (UIA) World Congress in  Durban, the UIA and its member organizations 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.
Recognizing the architects’ central role in planning and designing the built environment, and the need to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050 and provide equal access to shelter, we commit to promote the following actions:

  • Plan and design cities, towns, urban developments and new buildings to be carbon neutral
  • Renovate and rehabilitate existing cities, towns, urban redevelopments and buildings to be carbon neutral whilst respecting cultural and heritage values.
  • In those cases where reaching carbon neutral is not feasible or practical, plan and design cities, towns, urban developments, new buildings and renovations to be highly efficient with the capability to produce, or import, all their energy from renewable energy sources in the future.
  • We commit to the principle of engaging in research and setting targets towards meeting the 2050 goal.
  • Advocate and promote socially responsible architecture for the community, develop and deliver equitable access to the information and tools needed to:
    • plan and design sustainable, resilient, inclusive and low-carbon/zero carbon built environments.
    • design no-cost/low-cost on-site renewable energy and natural resources systems (e.g., passive heating and cooling, water catchment and storage, solar hot water, day lighting, and natural ventilation systems).

This is Our Commitment, Let’s all adopt it.



The response to the UIA2014 Durban World Congress has been overwhelmingly positive, thanks to the vibrant and convivial energy generated at the event that created a space of meeting, interaction and community; as well as the reach of the content and the impact that it had on those who attended.

We, the UIA 2014 Working Team and Organisation Committee, have had phenomenal feedback about the high calibre of the Keynote Speakers, the engaging Panel Discussions, the inspiring Exhibitions in the ICC and DEC, the exciting street activators and public projects around the City and the Programme as a whole – which have all been absolutely inspiring.

We have also had tremendously positive comments in respect of how the event was organized – indeed, at the post-event feedback by the UIA 2014 Executive Team at the UIA General Assembly on Saturday 9th August, we received a standing ovaton from the over 250 UIA Delegates present. Since then, we have been receiving Congratulatory messages and appreciation from around the world.

A Lasting Legacy 
In addition to the anticipated lasting impact that the Congress debates and discussions will have on the thinking and perceptions of those who attended, there are a number of tangible direct outcomes from the
event that are being recorded on the UIA2014 website under the link LEGACY

So far these include:

  • UIA2014 Congress Declaration
  • UIA2014 Students Charter
  • UIA Awards Announcement
  • SA Planning Institute: Statement of Intent
  • 2050 Imperative on Carbon Emissions: Adopted by the UIA on Friday 8th August 2014

Ultmately, UIA 2014 succeeded in its overarching intentons to create a broader awareness of Architecture
within the public realm, to develop a closer interaction between various stakeholders and the profession,
and to place the South African profession, and its achievements and challenges, within the global architectural
By Karen Eicker, UIA2014 Commissary General




‘It was and still is my considered opinion that the Durban 2014 World Architecture Congress is setting a unique precedent in exploring the future of our Continent’s built environment rather than the regrettable past that Africa has endured for so many years under colonialism. It is this objective that drove me to Strasbourg in October 2012 to convince the World body that Africans cannot be reduced to being “spectators to their sister’s wedding,” to use President Omisore’s words.

Our plea for varied festivities organised through our respective African Government Departments of Arts and Culture, should leave the attendees with a real and lasting African experience. It is about the future of our profession, as well as the future of our continent.

Otherwhere, ‘ou autrement-ailleurs’ en francais, is a word that does not exist in any language. It is specifically crafted to focus the minds of delegates and speakers alike to envisage a global future that we have not begun to foresee, and the crucial role that Africa has to play in that future. This is the opportunity for ‘making the case for Africa’ in the minds of international delegates and decision makers.

It is about firmly driving the message:

  • that Africa is a place to be reckoned with in the world when it comes to true innovative thinking within the built environment
  • Africa is incredibly fertile in breeding top class intellectuals, conceptualising original and affordable solutions to address the global broader sustainability imperatives,
  • Lastly, because the social component of the sustainability equation is particularly prominent and urgently demanding.

Africa’s time has come, I urge you all to continue being part of shaping the way the world is looking at our
beautiful and diverse continent!

May I once again wish the AUA Council every success in her endeavours’.
Merci beaucoup

Thank You
Sindile Ngonyama Pr. Arch; MIArch.
SAIA President


Africa Union of Architects celebrated her 33rd Anniversary

Africa Union of Architects celebrated her 33rd Anniversary on May 23rd 2013, which also coincided with the 1st Anniversary of the re-launching of her Newsletter.

We use this opportunity to thank you for your support, encouragement, contributions, well wishes and active participation to the success of this letter of information whose aim is to provide all cadre of Architects in Africa with a platform for mentorship, networking, grants, exchange of programs for Schools of Architecture, as well as a common ground to inter-relate.
We also wish to emphasize that this platform is yours to benefit from and utilize without reservation in order to promote African home-grown ideas, ideals, concepts and products.

Kindly send your articles, thoughts, quotes, ideas, pictures of architectural pieces, etc. that you wish to share to our Editorial Team to enrich (aua.newsletter@gmail.com) our Newsletter.

Welcome on Board.


The Architects’ Council of Europe signs a Memorandum of Understanding with the Africa Union of Architects

Memorandum of Understanding

Memorandum of Understanding

On the occasion of its General Assembly, which took place on 24 April 2014 in Padova (Italy), the Architects Council of Europe signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Africa Union of Architects, represented by the President, Mr. Tokunbo Omisore. Having regard to the long standing ties that exist between them, and convinced that a reinforced cooperation will help to consolidate actions and efforts towards addressing mutual concerns and Interests pertaining to architecture, architectural education, research, professional mobility, environmental issues, professional development and professional practice, the two organizations agreed:

1. To rationalize the resources of the Parties in pertinent activities at all levels;
2. To reinforce the capacity for action of the Parties towards third parties;
3. To explore opportunities for joint positions and / or joint actions of the Parties towards third parties;
4. To co-operate in lobbying activities, if and when appropriate;
5. To invite and encourage reciprocal representation at their respective working bodies;
6. To share information of mutual interest;
7. And finally, to undertake to establish and concretely define a closer co-operation at political, technical and working levels.

Both Organizations commit themselves to preparing a Mutual Recognition Agreement that will set the rules for their respective members to practice on the two continents.

Read the complete text of the Memorandum of Understanding on the ACE website www.ace-cae.eu

WUF7 MEDELLIN – 07th – 11th April 2014: Notes by G. Siew

Arc. Gaetan Siew

Arc. Gaetan Siew

Competence, Resources, Leadership, Governance, Resilience, Climate Change, Innovation, Inclusivity, Participation, Dialogue. These keywords were repeated over and over like a mantra throughout the week at the World Urban Forum of Medellin or WUF7 for those who affectionately named it. It was a unique opportunity for all to help to solve some of the basic
and fundamental problems challenging us.
Paradoxically it was very refreshing in these days of global crisis to feel and perceive a general note of optimism among the 22 000 participants from 164 countries. Said in different words, WUF7 MEDELLIN – 07th – 11th April 2014:
Notes by G. Siew these notes of optimism were on the lips of everyone from mayors to activists, industry, professionals and most importantly among the youth. The feeling was contagious. A few years back UN-Habitat celebrated the World Day of Habitat as Cities – Magnets of Hope. Today it would seem that they have gone beyond the concept of hope, they are really becoming drivers of development and of the economy. They have become the place to integrate all solutions ranging
from sheer common sense to the latest innovation of technology. From magnets of hope they have become Cities of Opportunities.
People are convinced that we have the resources and capacity to do it and to make the planet a better place to do it.
This strongest message was that cities are on the rise as economic centres, centres of innovation and centres of learning. When asked how they will achieve that, most answered through “inclusivity”. Each presented it in extremely different ways. They ranged from Asker, Norway, a city near Oslo, with its strong economy and social welfare state, to Goma, The Congo, which has just emerged from civil war and where the most basic problems such as clean water must be addressed; from Seoul, South Korea, where tradition had led to the marginalisation of women, to Johannesburg, South Africa, where millions live in shanty towns and remain in extreme poverty.
Not surprisingly, we learned that ways to achieve inclusivity, and therefore opportunity, varied from city to city, based on size, economy, politics, infrastructure, location, history, etc. Asker-Norway by a broad-based democracy through non-stop dialogue.
Goma-Congo through investment in its youth.
Technology came in as a natural enabler. However most stakeholders associated the human factor to it. In short, all were enthusiastic about new technology but not fanatics. It was clearly stated from all sources that technology and statistics often Ignored the intuitive and important human factor. The concept of integration was mentioned over and over without using THE word. It was understood as people working together, information sharing, designing single solutions to multiple problems.
George Ferguson, (an Architect) the Mayor of Bristol has understood very well the lesson and has transformed his city in 18 months with the human factor and Leadership. He is nominated to be one of the best Mayors in the world just like Jaime Lerner, former Mayor of Curitiba (another Architect!) Other abstract concepts such as Truth, Beauty and Trust were intuitively felt as essential although they cannot be scientifically proven. More intuition and less data; all accumulating to a collection of small differences, but important ones. It was repeated
through various forums, discussions and debates that three factors were essential for a liveable city – social engagement, open mind diversity and beauty!
At the end, I perceived that the unsaid objective of it all was Cities for Life, a Better Life. A city they would be proud of. I am one of those, an Urban Optimist.

OMA Silver Jubilee Celebration



On Saturday 1st March 2014, Mali Order of Architects celebrated her 25th Anniversary with the theme: “Promoting Traditional African Architectural Heritage, Peace & Development”.
The ceremony took place under the distinguished chairmanship of the newly appointed Prime Minister of Mali Republic, His Excellency, Mr. Moussa Mara, (the then Minister for Habitat and City Policy during the event), in the presence of Mr. Mohamed Ali Bathily , Mali Minister for Justice and AUA President, Arc. Tokunbo Omisore as the Special Guest of Honour of this prestigious event.
The 40-Member Countries of the Africa Union of Architects join the President in congratulating His Excellency Mr. Moussa Mara, on his new appointment as the Prime Minister of Mali, and wishes that his term in office will take Mali to greater heights.

After the meeting, AUA President presented the points adopted during the Strategic Council of the OMA Members, on 2nd February 2014, which were adopted by Mr. Lazare Eloundou, the Representative of UNESCO Office in Mali, as follows:

  • Regarding the upcoming event of the 14th March 2014, Messrs. Ahmadu Bore & Issaka Timbely of AUA & OMA respectively, will contact the Malian Ministry of Culture to implement the suggestion of the AUA President as follows:
  1. The Order of Mali Architects (OMA) will work closely with UNESCO team to rebuild and understudy the fourteen (14) Shrines destroyed in Timbuktu and environs.
  2. OMA President, Mr. Issa Timbely, the AUA Vice President West Region, Mr. Amadou Bore, and others will attend and support the UNESCO reconstruction activity on 14th March 2014 in Timbuktu.
  3. The requested Resident Architect(s) to understudy and supervise the reconstruction works process will be provided by the OMA at a reasonable remuneration to UNESCO.
  • The proposed plan to integrate modern and traditional African Architecture, through a “Special School of Architecture” to be developed in Mali in the nearest future by OMA with the support of the AUA and her 40-Member Countries. Mr. Gaetan Siew , the AUA Trustee and Chairman, Visions & Strategy, will take this up with UNESCO on behalf of the AUA and the OMA especially the proposed Competition for the Reconstruction of the Monument Al Farouk destroyed in Timbuktu.
  • The AUA plans to showcase the African Architectural Heritage in Mali at the upcoming UIA Congress in Durban, 1st – 10th August 2014. This will be achieved with the assistance of Ms. Firdaous Oussidhoum, the AUA Director External Relations and the OMA.

At the Conference held to mark the 25th Anniversary of the OMA the AUA charged the Malian Architects with the task to:

  • Support the protection and promote the awareness of the African Architectural identity through the heritage deeply rooted in Mali.
  • Understudy the traditional African Architecture of Timbuktu and its cultural values.
  • Join the AUA rebranding of the African Architecture and exhibit the traditional African Architecture of Timbuktu and environs at the International Union of Architects Congress in Durban August 2014.

For more information on the above, the AUA recommends the book (cover shown to the left) written by Mr. Eloundo Lazare, the Uneconomical Chief-in-Charge of Heritage in Africa now posted to the UN Office in Mali.

AUA President’s Message to all on the upcoming UIA 2014 Congress


The 25th International Union of Architects World Congress, UIA 2014 Durban, will hold at the International Convention Centre in Durban from 3rd – 7th August 2014. This is the first time that this Congress will hold in Africa and 6000 delegates are expected from around the world. The International Union of Architects (UIA) organizes a World Congress every three years, and there have been 24 previous UIA Congresses.
The current standard Registration Fee (R4500) has just been extended for another month till 31st May 2014, after which the fee will increase. I strongly encourage ALL section members to attend!
The Congress theme, ‘architecture OTHERWHERE‘, will celebrate diversity by exploring other communities, other regions, other disciplines, and other ways of thinking about, practising and teaching Architecture. The intention is to acknowledge the built environment as a major force that may be harnessed towards a better life for all – through the sub-themes RESILIENCE, ECOLOGY and VALUES.

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