Seoul is set to welcome some 30,000 participants to the UIA 2017 World Architects Congress in September (3-10), as the city backs up its reputation as a UNESCO City of Design and its 2010 designation as World Design Capital.
The eight-day congress is the largest convention expected in Korea this year, and will welcome at least 5,000 international delegates from more than 120 countries to the COEX venue and the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), South Korea’s neofuturistic design hub, designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid and local architecture firm Samoo.
The UIA (International Union of Architects) congress will this year be themed ‘Soul of City’ nodding to Seoul’s unique features. Korea is a fascinating blend of old and new, with traces of the ancient Orient in its old palaces, city gates, and mountain temples, combined with rapid urbanisation and modern development. UIA 2017’s academic programs will reflect three main sub-themes of Culture, Future and Nature.
The conference is being supported by the Federation of Institutes of Korean Architects (FIKA), Seoul Metropolitan Government, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of the Republic of Korea and the Presidential Commission on Architecture Policy, nodding to the creative local policies supporting the local development of architecture.
Seoul is the heart of the national design scene, as home to around 73 per cent of Korean designers. The Government of Seoul is supporting technological development through linking its design companies with the city’s leading industries. In recent years, more than 170,000 jobs have been generated within Seoul’s design industry alone. Nearly a third of these jobs are in the manufacturing and design consultancy sectors; another third are in fashion design. Other key design sectors include architecture, game designers and digital content developers, IT-related devices, digital home appliances, and the automotive industry.
South Korea is also attracting major international design projects ahead of its hosting of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. This includes the new ‘Paradise City’ entertainment complex by Dutch firm MVRDV, featuring inverted facades and a huge blob of gold.
Jong Ruhl Hahn, President of the Congress, UIA 2017 Seoul Organizing Committee, said: “Korea’s distinctive culture and well-preserved traditions are well integrated in today’s people’s lives and with the state-of-the-art technology in good harmony. Korea, as a country successfully transitioned from a recipient to a donor country with appealing development history achieved in just half a century after having the country completely destroyed from the Korean War in the early 1950s, will be an excellent platform to bridge the gaps between generations, nations, and regions. Architecture is of great significance to us, as the only country still divided into two and bracing for reunification. Sharing related architectural stories unique to Korea’s situation, and by making suggestions for further advancement, we hope that this congress can contribute to achieving the central goal of the UIA: further advancement of the human environment.”
UIA 2017 will incorporate academic programs, exhibitions, competitions, student activities, and public outreach programs. It is also offering free registration for 300 architects and 300 students from developing countries as a “token of our appreciation for all that Korean architects have received from member countries in the past”.
The UIA win is one of a number of major international congresses and corporate incentives secured for the 2017 – 2024 period by Korea. Korea MICE Bureau executive director Kap Soo Kim said: “This is an exciting year for Korea as we release new support schemes, reach out to new markets, open new unique venues and launch our very own Korea MICE Ambassador Programme very soon.”
(via UIA 2017 Seoul, M&IT India)
Featured image: Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP)