The World Architecture Festival that takes place in Barcelona every fall has announced today that the major themes for this year’s edition will focus on “making a difference” and “responding to disaster.” It comes as no surprise, as the effects of poverty and natural catastrophes become more frequent and so does the architect’s role in rebuilding efforts across the developed and developing world.


The festival will welcome 35 speakers including Sou Fujimoto, David Mackay, Akihiko Hamanda, Sangay Puri, and John McAslan and Partners, among many others, who “will discuss issues confronting architecture practices, using examples and best practice from Japan, Christchurch, Chile, Brisbane and New Orleans. They will focus on how the architecture community has spearheaded responses to natural disasters and how to ensure such significant levels of damage can be avoided in the future. Discussions will review what expertise architects can offer to support post-disaster damage assessments to improve structures, re-think land use, and review new approaches to materials and products.”

It’s difficult to say whether these discussions will tackle the complexities of development and cooperation that are crucial to finding the most efficient ways of “making a difference”, or whether the firms represented will give us an adequate picture of the rebuilding efforts being made by so many smaller organizations and local practitioners around the world. In past years, WAF has been the territory of star-studded architecture; this shift in focus is no doubt a necessary one and hopefully productive.

Fore more information, visit the WAF program.

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