In 2017, the UIA adopted a resolution to formally request that UNESCO be associated with its initiative to designate the next UIA World Congress host city as the World Capital of Architecture.

UNESCO and UIA agreed to prepare a 10-year plan of action covering the period 2017-2027 and including the designation to the 2020, 2023 and 2026 World Capitals of Architecture. UNESCO’s participation in the nomination of the UIA World Congress host cities as World Capitals of Architecture represents the natural continuation of this longstanding partnership.

The UIA holds the World Congress of Architects every three years, organised by a UIA Member Section in the city elected to host it. As a matter of custom, the UIA General Assembly elects the host city six years in advance. The UIA World Congress now ties directly with the UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture programme. The main World Congress theme and programme should be complementary to and compatible with the one-year programme of the World Capital of Architecture.

Selection process

  • After receiving the candidacies of the cities to host and organise the UIA World Congress and General Assembly, a joint UNESCO-UIA committee preselects a maximum of three cities, one of which will subsequently be designated as the World Capital of Architecture for a period of one year.
  • At its General Assembly, the UIA chooses a host city for the next World Congress and General Assembly from among these preselected cities. 
  • The Director-General of UNESCO formally announces the elected city as the World Capital of Architecture.