A comprehensive account of the birth and subsequent evolution of the field of Wind Engineering, as we know it today, may be found at the IAWE site. The first edition of the international conference took place in 1963, when K. Scruton and his group organized a 1st International Symposium on Wind Effects on Buildings and Structures, in Teddington, U.K., under the auspices of several British organizations. On that occasion, half a century ago, an International Study Group on Wind Effects on Buildings and Structures was formed, with four specific aims related to the study of wind effects on structures, the last of which was to ensure that a further international conference be held in three or four years’ time. This fourth aim led to the beginning of a long series of technical events, which adopted the official designation of International Conference on Wind Effects on Buildings and Structures, later changed to International Conferences on Wind Engineering (ICWE), to include also emerging topics such as Wind Energy. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th International Conferences were held in Ottawa (Canada, 1967), Tokyo (Japan, 1971) and London (U.K., 1975), respectively, setting a precedent for the policy of rotating the venues amongst different regions of the world. At the London conference in 1975 a Steering Committee Meeting of the International Study Group decided that an International Association for Wind Engineering (IAWE) should be founded, with the principal aim of promoting the organization of future international meetings, as well as pursuing the creation of three Regional Secretaries for the Europe-African, American and Asia-Pacific regions, respectively.
At the 5th International Conference of this series, held in Fort Collins (Colorado, 1979), besides the traditional subjects, four new topics were introduced: “Social and economic impact of wind storms”, “Wind environment”, “Physical and mathematical modeling”, and “Wind engineering applications”. Furthermore, in 1980 the Journal of Industrial Aerodynamics changed its name to Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics (JWEIA), becoming the official Journal of the still young IAWE. The new IAWE by-laws stated that, “the association will be governed by a Steering Committee which will meet every four years at the venue of an International Conference”. “The Chairman of the Association is to be the Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the next International Conference”, and administers the IAWE through the action of Regional or National Secretaries appointed at each Steering Committee Meeting. “There is no formal membership, and membership will be deemed to those who have registered for the International Conference”. This scheme remained in force during the 8th, 9th and 10th ICWE's, held in London (Ontario, 1991), New Delhi (India, 1995) and Copenhagen (Denmark, 1999).
Afterwards, faced by the fast development of wind engineering, the proliferation of related publications and the need to establish adequate links with other already consolidated conferences in the area, a number of changes were introduced in the IAWE by-laws. It was then clear that the IAWE by-laws and organization had been conceived in a period in which the ICWE’s were the only scientific and technical forum available for a small number of delegates, coming from a limited number of countries, to discuss a narrow band of topics. This situation justified the article of the by-laws in accordance with which the IAWE “will be governed by a Steering Committee which will meet every four years at the venue of an International Conference”.
The activity of the committee opened a wide debate on the future of the IAWE that was carried out at the turn of the century. The committee (with M. Matsumoto, Japan, on behalf of S. Murakami; A. Larsen, Denmark, on behalf of A. Damsgaard; and N.P. Jones, U.S., invited guest as the new Editor of the JWEIA since 1999) worked for four years and went to the 11th ICWE, held in Lubbock (Texas, 2003), with a refined proposal for a new draft of the IAWE by-laws and a new scheme for its organization. An important change was the replacement of the Steering Committee by a General Assembly, with a formal constitution (Art. 13), that meets on the occasion of the ICWE's to govern the IAWE; it is supported by an Executive Board (Art.12), appointed to direct the IAWE, between two subsequent ICWEs. This Board is composed of the IAWE President (Art. 8), the immediate past President, the Chair of the next ICWE (Art. 7), the three Regional Co-ordinators (Arts. 6 and 9), three Regional Representatives (Art. 10), the Secretary General (Art. 11), and Consultative Members co-opted by the President.
In 2007 Y. Tamura (Japan) was elected to be the new IAWE President at the IAWE General Assembly in Cairns. The new IAWE Executive Board consisted of Y. Tamura (Japan, IAWE President), G. Solari (Italy, past IAWE President), C.Geurts (13ICWE Chairman), A. Kareem (U.S.), K. Kwok (Hong Kong, China) and C. Baker (U.K.) (Co-ordinators of the American, Asia-Pacific and Europe-African regions respectively), T. Stathopoulos (Canada), C. Letchford (Australia) and C. Borri (Representatives for the American, Asia-Pacific and Europe-African regions, respectively), and A. Huber (CWE Chairman). Besides, C.M. Cheng (Taiwan, 7th APCWE Chairman), H. Cruzado (11th ACWE ) and A. Kane (WWEA President) were invited to join the IAWE Executive Board as consultative members. S. Cao (Japan) was appointed as the Secretary General.
The most important events in this period, the 13th ICWE and General Assembly, were held in Amsterdam in 2011. At the General Assembly during ICWE13, after bids from the USA, Canada and Brazil, Brazil was selected as the host country for ICWE14 to be held in 2015 under the leadership of A. Loredo-Souza. Also at ICWE13, IAWE awarded four senior awards (Giovanni Solari, Masaru Matsumoto, John Holmes and Barry Vickery) and four junior awards (Tracy Kijewski-Correa, Maria Pia Repetto, Atsushi Yamaguchi and Claudio Mannini).
Yukio Tamura was re-elected as the IAWE President at the General Assembly in 2011 during ICWE13. The Executive Board members are: Y. Tamura (Japan, IAWE President), G. Solari (Italy, past IAWE President), A. Loredo-Souza (Brazil, ICWE14 Chair), K. Kwok (Australia, Asia-Oceania Region Coordinator), L.S. Cochran (USA, Americas Region Coordinator), R. Hoeffer (Germany, Europe-Africa Region Coordinator), H. Yamada (Japan, Asia-Oceania Region Representative), C. Borri (Europe-Africa Region Representative), G. Kopp (Canada, Americas Region Representative), H. Schluenzen (Germany, CWE2014 Chair) and Y.J. Ge (China, BBAA7 Chair). Besides, N.R. Iyer (India, 8APCWE Chair), D. A. Reed (USA, 12ACWE Chair), M. Sterling (UK, 8EACWE), A. Kareem (USA, IAWE Award Committee Chair), T. Stathopoulos (Canada, JWEIA editor), C. Geurts (Netherlands, 13ICWE Chairman) and A. Kane (WWEA President) were invited to join the IAWE Executive Board as consultative members. S. Cao (China) was re-appointed as the Secretary General.
In the context briefly described above, the 14th ICWE is presently being organized to be held in June 2015. Its venue will be Porto Alegre, an important regional city in southern Brazil, about one and a half hours flight from the largest cities in South America, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. Unlike the famous Brazilian tropical scenery of beaches bathed by sun and sea, in Porto Alegre the main source of relaxation is culture, the fine arts milieu and entertainment. The city produces and consumes theater, music, literature, cinema and fine arts year-round, where attractions can be found throughout the city. We welcome all to Porto Alegre to continue the tradition of excellence of the International Conferences on Wind Engineering.