International architecture competitions broaden the horizons of design by calling on the creativity of architects throughout the world.
In 1956, UNESCO commissioned the International Union of Architects to ensure respect for international standards in the launch and operation of international architecture and urban planning competitions. These standards are laid out in the UNESCO-UIA Regulations that give guidelines for the project brief, procedures, jury composition, winner's compensation, schedule, and publication of results.
The iconic structures in the following list were all realised through international competitions approved by the UIA and carried out under its oversight:
• Sydney Opera House, Australia, Jørn Utzon architect
• Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, France, Renzo Piano, Richard Rodgers architects
• Foreign Affairs Ministry in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Henning Larsen architect
• Tokyo International Forum, Japan, Rafael Viñoly architect
• François Mitterrand Library in Paris, Dominique Perrault, architect
• Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in Alexandria, Egypt, Snøhetta architects
The experience and authority conferred on UIA by UNESCO allows us to serve as a reference in terms of ethics and prestige in the realm of international architecture and urban planning competitions.
The UIA also advises on the organisation of international architectural prizes. Launched by public or private organisms these prizes spotlight specific architectural realisations, materials, technologies, themes, or research.
The Egyptian Informal Settlements Development Facility (ISDF) and Cairo Governorate were initiated an international competition upon invitation for the urban development and architectural design of the Maspero triangle district, a 35 ha of land downtown Cairo. The goal of this design competition was to inspire a master plan that will be an example of mixed-use urban community, preserves heritage, protects the environment and does not lead to loss of local residents' diversity.