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COP26 kicks off in Glasgow with talks, exhibitions, and a CambridgeSeven-designed Resilience Hub

The Architect's Newspaper - November 1, 2021

People gather at the COP26 Resilience Hub designed by CambridgeSeven


Following a rousing kick-off speech by Sir David Attenborough, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, is now officially underway in Glasgow. For those on the ground in Scotland’s most populous city, there’s no shortage of planned exhibitions, talks, and other activities during the run of the 12-day conference that squarely focuses on the critical role of the built environment in creating a healthier, safer, and more equitable future for the global population while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and working with renewed urgency to ameliorate the dire climate projections.

The Resilience Hub (Blue Zone, Glasgow Caledonian University)

Located within COP26’s Blue Zone, the Resilience Hub is a multifaceted pavilion playing host to a range of programming, both physical and virtual, throughout the conference. The bi-level, 2,195-square-foot indoor space is home base to the Race to Resilience, a U.N.-backed initiative described as “a global campaign to build climate resilience and move towards ‘global net-zero.’” Commissioned by a global alliance of the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center and the Atlantic Council, the Resilience Hub was designed in Massachusetts by CambridgeSeven, contracted in France by GL EVENTS, and fabricated in Poland before being shipped to Glasgow for build-out.

As detailed in a press release, key features of the pavilion include a multi-use upper-level theater; lower-level meeting and events areas that combine “cutting-edge media activations, digital art, and augmented reality graphics; living walls that “metabolize carbon dioxide and provide moisture and oxygen to the pavilion as it filters the slowly circulating ambient air;” a virtual art exhibit accessed by QR code; dynamic lighting featuring “floating, illuminated ceiling graphics” that engage visitors with key issues of the conference, and a slew of sustainable design features such as bamboo flooring and environmentally-themed graphics printed with plant-based inks.

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The Architect's Newspaper