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The International Union of Architects[1] (French: Union internationale des Architectes; UIA) is the only international non-governmental organization that represents the world's architects, now estimated to number some 3.2 million in all.


The UIA was founded on 28 June 1948 in Lausanne, Switzerland, following the merger of the Comité permanent international des Architectes and the Réunion International des Architectes. Its General Secretariat is located in Paris. The organisation is recognised as the only global architecture organisation by most United Nations agencies, including UNESCO, UNCHS, ESOSOC, UNIDO and the World Health Organization as well as the WTO. The current (2021-2023) president is José Luis Cortés from Mexico.

Through its Member Sections, the UIA is represented in over 100 countries and territories, geographically grouped into five regions:

Governing bodies

The governing bodies of the UIA are:



The UIA World Congresses are key events for professional and cultural exchange among all the world's architects, bringing together thousands of participants from around the globe. Each event focuses on a different architecture-related theme, developed by eminent personalities from the international architectural, planning and construction fields. Debates, exhibitions, tours and networking events make the UIA Congresses the perfect meeting place for experts, colleagues, friends, and students of architecture.

UIA Congresses are organised by a host UIA Member Section. Congress bids are submitted to the UIA General Assembly and selected by vote six years in advance of the event.

List of congresses from 1948 to 2026

USSR stamp and souvenir sheet of 1958 dedicated to the 5th World Congress of Architecture
USSR stamp of 1958 dedicated to the 5th World Congress of Architecture
USSR souvenir sheet of 1958 dedicated to the 5th World Congress of Architecture
Nr. Year Location Theme
1st 1948 Switzerland Lausanne Architecture Faced with its New Tasks
2nd 1951 Morocco Rabat How Architecture is Dealing with its New Tasks
3rd 1953 Portugal Lisbon Architecture at the Crossroads
4th 1955 Netherlands The Hague Architecture and the Evolutions of Building
5th 1958 Soviet Union Moscow Construction and Reconstruction
6th 1961 United Kingdom London New Techniques and New Materials
7th 1963 Cuba Havana Architecture in Underdeveloped Countries
8th 1965 France Paris The Training of Architects
9th 1967 Czechoslovakia Prague Architecture and the Human Milieu
10th 1969 Argentina Buenos Aires Architecture as a Social Factor
11th 1972 Bulgaria Varna Architecture and Leisure
12th 1975 Spain Madrid Creativity and Technology
13th 1978 Mexico Mexico City Architecture and National Development
14th 1981 Poland Warsaw Architecture, Man, Environment
15th 1985 Egypt Cairo Present and Future Missions of the Architect
16th 1987 United Kingdom Brighton Shelter and Cities - Building Tomorrow's World
17th 1990 Canada Montreal Cultures and Technologies
18th 1993 United States Chicago Architecture at the Crossroads - Designing for a Sustainable Future
19th 1996 Spain Barcelona Present and Futures. Architecture in Cities
20th 1999 China Beijing Architecture of the 21st Century
21st 2002 Germany Berlin Resource Architecture
22nd 2005 Turkey Istanbul Grand Bazaar of Architectures
23rd 2008 Italy Turin Transmitting Architecture
24th 2011 Japan Tokyo DESIGN 2050 Beyond disasters, through Solidarity, towards Sustainability
25th 2014 South Africa Durban Architecture otherwhere
26th 2017 South Korea Seoul Soul of City
27th 2020 Brazil Rio de Janeiro All Worlds. One World. Architecture in the 21st Century.[2]
28th 2023 Denmark Copenhagen Design for a Sustainable Future[3]
29th 2026 Spain Barcelona One day, One tomorrow[4]

World Capital of Architecture

On 23 November 2018, the UIA published a Memorandum of Understanding[5] with UNESCO on the new joint label World Capital of Architecture. The title is awarded every three years, according to the rhythm of the UIA World Congresses. Since 2020, the world congress has always taken place in the respective world capital. There is a formal application process for this. The World Congress selects the World Capital for the year of the next World Congress from the shortlist of applications, the formal announcement being made by the Secretary General of UNESCO. In 2020 Rio de Janeiro was the world capital of architecture, 2023 Copenhagen[6] and 2026 Barcelona. A program and a series of major events take place in the respective world capital throughout the calendar year.

UIA Gold Medal

Since 1984 the organisation also awards the UIA Gold Medal to honour an architect (or group of architects) having distinguished themselves through their work and professional practice by the quality of services rendered to man and society. Past recipients of the award were:

Year Architect Country
1984 Hassan Fathy Egypt
1987 Reima Pietila Finland
1990 Charles Correa India
1993 Fumihiko Maki Japan
1996 Rafael Moneo Spain
1999 Ricardo Legorreta Vilchis Mexico
2002 Renzo Piano Italy
2005 Tadao Ando Japan
2008 Teodoro Gonzalez de Leon Mexico
2011 Álvaro Siza Vieira Portugal
2014 Ieoh Ming Pei USA
2017 Toyo Ito Japan
2021 Paulo Mendes da Rocha Brazil

UIA Triennial Prizes

The UIA also awards the following five prizes:

International design competitions

The UIA manages international architecture competitions.


  2. ^ "The IAB presents the official logo of the 2020 UIA congress in Rio | INTERNATIONAL UNION OF ARCHITECTS". 2017-11-13. Archived from the original on 2017-11-13. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  3. ^ "Homepage". UIA 2023 CPH. Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  4. ^ "UIA" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-09-02.
  5. ^ About the World Capital of Architecture, at: official webpage, consulted 1 August 2023.
  6. ^ * Munk Beilin, Sarah; Dahl, Ellen; Brams, Rikke. Guide to New Architecture in Copenhagen. Copenhagen: Danish Architecture Center. p. 4. ISBN 978-87-90668-71-6.