UIA 2020 RIO will be, as the Paraguayan Solano Benítez says, the “polyphony of the voices of architecture”. Defender of architecture as a tool for society’s development, he is another big name confirmed as a speaker in the 27th World Congress of Architects, happening from the 19th to the 23rd of July of next year in Rio de Janeiro.
Born in 1963 in Asunción, Benítez studies construction techniques using bricks, a material that has become an iconic symbol in his work. He believes in sustainable and high-quality housing with the lowest possible cost. To him, by means of basic resources and the recognition of labour force, the residences can be built especially on poor communities. Recently, he has been developing projects with broken materials from catastrophes.
Honorary member in the American Institute of Architects since 2012, the arquitect has received important international prizes, such as the BSI Architectural Award of 2008 and the Golden Lion at the 2016 Venice Biennale. He is also one of the founders of Gabinete de Architectura.
In UIA 2020 RIO, an event that he considers a “celebration of the encounter”, Benítez will speak for a public of around 15 thousand people, including architects, urbanists, students, urban thinkers, public employees and other interested groups.
– We have to understand that we are not workers of a specific subject, we are society´s builders. The Congress is an important way to discuss proposals on a global level by means of what is being developed locally and regionally. Those are new conditions to break inequalities – he highlights.
In an interview for the Brazilian newspaper O Globo, Benítez has also emphasized that the problems that humanity faces nowadays are not due to the lack of knowledge or materials, but due to the lack of imagination. To him, “humans are the most perfect machines”.
It is the fourth time that the World Congress of Architects take place in Latin America, being the first one in Brazil. In 1963, Havana was the host city; in 1969, it was Buenos Aires and, in 1978, Mexico City. To host the event in 2020, Rio de Janeiro has competed against Paris and Melbourne.
– There are huge crises happening around the world, and the hypothesis for overcoming them do not come from central countries. Latin America is an essential participant on the debate about the importance of architecture, so it is a great moment for such a gathering to take place on the continent – the Paraguayan argues.
Besides Solano Benítez, the architect Diébédo Francis Keré, from Burkina Faso, has also been announced as a speaker in UIA 2020 RIO.
Hundreds of architects, urbanists and other interested groups from the civil society have already guaranteed their presences at the event, which will turn Rio into the epicentre of the debate about the future of the cities around the world.
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The Congress, that happens every three years, will celebrate Rio de Janeiro as the first city to win the title of World Capital of Architecture by UNESCO.
With the theme “All the worlds. Just one world. Architecture 21” is promoted by the International Union of Architects (UIA) and is organized by the Institute of Architects of Brazil (IAB). It will reunite specialists and enthusiasts of fairer and more dynamic cities to talk about solutions between the 19th and the 23rd of July 2020. Before that, on July 17 and 18, Rio will also host the World Forum of Cities UNESCO-UIA, with mayors of previous host cities and political, entrepreneurial, cultural and social leaderships.
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