Barcelona Named UNESCO World Capital of Architecture for 2026


Barcelona has been officially designated as the International Union of Architect's (UIA) World Capital of Architecture for 2026 by Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO. Joining Copenhagen and Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona will be hosting UIA's world congress for 2 years post the event held in Copenhagen. The contest for the 2026 title was between both Beijing and Barcelona, but the Catalan city took the lead with its winning bid titled "One today, one tomorrow", which explores the city's approach to sustainability and the future of the built environment. Read on SURFACES REPORTER (SR) 's this article to know what World Capital of Architecture is? What are its aims? What are the future host cities? and more.


Also Read: What Is Special About Telanganas Ramappa Temple That Made It to UNESCOs World Heritage Site List?


UNESCO supports The International Union of Architects (UIA), a non-governmental organization established in 1948. The UIA and UNESCO in collaboration, initiated the World Capital of Architecture which aims to underscore the prime role of architecture and city planning in modelling a sustainable future and addressing global challenges. 


UNESCO and the UIA had a partnership agreement in 2018, under which UNESCO selects the host cities of UIA's World Congress as World Capitals of Architecture.

barcelonaFor every three years, a new city has been elected as the World Capital of Architecture. The city, thus, becomes an international forum for exchanging dialogues about the issues related to modern-day urban planning.

Last Chosen Hosted Cities

Rio de Janeiro hosted the World Congress of Architects from 18 to 22 July 2021. However, due to pandemic the event took place virtually. The UIA2021RIO was the first digital UIA World Congress in its history.

barcelonaThe Brazilian city, as the first World Capital of Architecture, hosted numerous vibrant events under the theme "All the worlds. Just one world," and promoted the globally consented 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development's 11th Goal-"Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable". In 2023, Copenhagen will host the next World Congress. Following Barcelona will take the lead in 2026. 

Also Read: What Made The Harappan-Era City- Dholavira, Gujarat- Bag The UNESCO World Heritage Site Tag?


Why Barcelona?

Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain's Catalonia region, is world-famous for its amazing art and stunning architecture.

barcelona Along with being the headquarters of the Union for the Mediterranean, Barcelona is the biggest organization with overall 47 member nations that promotes social, cultural, economic and environmental issues in the Mediterranean.

barcelonaCity history museum MUHBA contains several Roman archaeological sites. Barcelona looks forward to planning several architecture events in the forthcoming years.

Coinciding With the Completion of the Sagrada Familia

The congress is scheduled to coincide with the long-awaited completion of the fantastical Sagrada Família church in time for the 100th death anniversary of its architect Antoni Gaudi.


New European Bauhaus 

The city has also been operational on hosting the New European Bauhaus, an initiative that "calls on all Europeans to imagine and build together a sustainable and inclusive future that is beautiful for our eyes, minds, and souls", and will host the 25th edition of the Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urban Planning (BEAU)."


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