The UIA World Congress of Architects in Copenhagen 2023 is the world’s largest event on Sustainable Architecture, bringing together professionals from the whole built environment for four days to discuss how we can create a more sustainable future for all. 

The World Congress is held every three years in different countries and will be hosted in 2023 for the first time in Copenhagen, Denmark by the UIA Nordic section: Denmark, Finland, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.  

Arup is an official sponsor of UIA 2023, and our experts are participating in events throughout the Congress, working alongside curators and participants on a range of projects and exhibitions. Explore highlights from our programme of activity here.

From Marine Resource to Low Carbon Building Material – Learnings and Insight from the Nordic Blue Building Alliance

Monday 3 July, 15:45 – 17:00, Bella Center, Room B3 M5-6, UIA2023 Congress 

Embodied carbon – the emissions released from materials during the construction of buildings and infrastructure – will be responsible for half of the planet’s total carbon footprint of new builds between now and 2050. Marine biomaterials like seaweed and shells, and repurposed industrial waste materials found in the ocean have the potential to reduce embodied carbon emissions in the construction industry.

A new network – The Nordic Blue Building Alliance – will work towards the overall goals of filling the knowledge gap about marine biobased building materials and lowering carbon emissions in the construction sector, outline an environmental impact survey in the production supply chain and explore concrete business models for marine based building material. 

Arup is the lead partner behind the Nordic Blue Building Alliance and will bring together experts from across the entire supply chain to debate how we scale up our global marine resource and introduce a new technical playbook on marine-based low carbon construction for cities, which will be provide a practical guidance for policymakers and planners globally, offering procurement and project management best practice and support.

Peter Vangsbo, Associate Director for Climate and Sustainable Services at Arup, will moderate the session featuring the following speakers:

  • Daniel Oh, Associate Professor, Chair and Department of Smart City, Korea University

  • Anna Velander Gisslén, Senior sustainable strategist, Swedish Industrial Design Foundation

  • Carl Bäckstrand, Partner White, Architects

  • Søren Nielsen, Architect, Senior Partner, Co-owner at Vandkunsten Architects

  • Claus Frier, Head of Programme for Ocean Institute, Think tank HAV.

  • Carlo Volf, Capital Region, Built Environment, New Interventions in Depression

Register here

Bringing Blue Building Material to Market

Tuesday 4 July, 15:15 – 16:45, Nordic Pavilion, Hall E, UIA2023 Congress 
This panel event will discuss the market barriers of accelerating use of marine biobased building material and how low carbon construction needs to invest more in alternative building material. Peter Vangsbo, Associate Director for Climate and Sustainable Services at Arup, will moderate a panel of the following speakers:

  • Tobias Øhrstrøm, Co-founder, Head of Products, Design & Creative Direction, Søuld 

  • Indy Johar, Executive Director, Dark Matter Labs 

  • Sara Færch Hansen, Investment Associate, Danmarks Eksport- og Investeringsfond (EIFO) 

  • Carlo Volf, Capital Region, Built Environment, New Interventions in Depression

The discussion will look to highlight investment initiatives that can promote the use of marine-based building materials and thereby reduce embodied carbon across the global construction sector. 

Please join the session and share your thoughts on how biobased building material can improve the carbon footprint of the built environment. 

Register here

Green and Thriving Neighbourhoods, Foodscapes and All Ages Play Exhibitions and Experiences

Tuesday 4 July, 16:00 - 21:00, Spor 10, Copenhagen 
During the UIA Congress, C40 Cities will be bringing together representatives from cities, academia, private sector, youth groups and more, for a marathon event delving into key urban themes on how we can redesign public spaces to deliver green and thriving neighbourhoods. It will explore how to make cities more healthy, more liveable, more climate friendly; the Green and Thriving Urban Movement and how we can scale, replicate and learn from solutions in fellow cities around the world; And how we can create the blueprints for our future cities through actual projects and on-the-ground implementation. 

Arup is co-hosting the Green and Thriving Neighbourhoods, Foodscapes and All Ages Play Exhibitions and Experiences at the Spor 10 Community, together with C40 Cities, Novo Nordisk, NREP, IKEA (Ingka), Gehl Architects and more.  

To register interest in this event, please contact

Green and Thriving Neighbourhoods – Public Space Marathon

Wednesday 5 July, 17:00 - 20:30, Spor 10, Copenhagen 
Within the C40 and IKEA (Ingka) exhibition spaces, Arup will showcase some of the best practices and digital tools around proximity planning and design, child-friendly cities, play for all, and city rewilding, providing concrete climate and biodiversity actions and levers to improve community health and wellbeing.  

Sara Candiracci, Associate Director for Cities, Planning and Design, and Global Leader for Social Value & Equity at Arup, will speak at the Green and Thriving Neighbourhoods Public Space Marathon on July 5 from 17-19. The new Design Guide: Design for play for anyone, anywhere, developed by Arup with the LEGO Foundation, with Catalytic Action and PlacemakingX, will be launched at the event, and will be displayed at the IKEA (Ingka) exhibition space.  
Register here

Arup x Metroselskabet: Tour of the Cityringen Metro

Wednesday 5th July, 18:00 – 19:00, Kongens Nytorv Metro (above ground)

Copenhagen is one of the most densely populated areas of Denmark. The new City Circle Line (Cityringen) metro, opened in 2019, expands the city’s existing system, and is a key part of its drive to become carbon neutral by 2025. Metroselskabet, Copenhagen’s transit authority, appointed Arup in joint venture with Cowi and Systra to act as the multi-disciplinary technical advisor for this ambitious metro design and build project, the city’s largest construction project in more than 400 years. 

Arup led the architectural design, taking a user-centric ethos at every step of the way. Our intuitive-minimalism, inspired by the Scandinavian design tradition, has led to spacious, light-filled stations with distinctive internal façades and materials that echo the local spirit of the areas they connect to. 

Please be invited for a guided ride and talk tour with Arup’s architects behind the iconic station designs. The tours will be in English and require a normal valid ticket for the Metro.

Register here