International Union of Architects
Why an international UIA-UNESCO architecture competition? | UIA - International Union of Architects

Why an international UNESCO-UIA competition?

The International Union of Architects has many years of experience overseeing and assisting in the organisation of international competitions in architecture and urban planning.  In 1956, delegations of practicing architects from all over the world drew up a set of standard regulations for international competitions in architecture and urban planning, which UNESCO subsequently ratified. The framework and objectives embodied in the UNESCO Regulations have endured for more than sixty years, prioritising equal treatment, transparency, qualified adjudication, quality and innovation. 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. Support from the UIA gives organisers access to architects and architecture students as well as to media and professional institutions worldwide.

Quality competitions, quality architecture since 1956

The UIA promotes excellence in architecture, sustainability and cultural diversity. Student and professional international architecture competitions endorsed through the UNESCO-UIA International Competitions Programme have taken place all over the world and have resulted in some of the most iconic edifices of the 20th century. The experience and authority conferred upon the UIA by UNESCO in 1956 allow us to serve as a reference in terms of ethics in the realm of architecture and urban planning competitions globally.

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. UIA-endorsed architecture prizes have taken place all over the world. 

Did you know...

The following buildings were realised through international UNESCO-UIA architecture competitions:

• Sydney Opera House, Australia, Jørn Utzon architect (1956)

• Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, France, Renzo Piano, Richard Rodgers architects (1971)

• Foreign Affairs Ministry in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Henning Larsen architect (1980)

• La Grande Arche, in La Défense, Paris, France, Johann Otto von Spreckelsen architect (1982)

• La Villette Park, in Paris, France, Bernard Tschumi (1982)

• Tokyo International Forum, Japan, Rafael Viñoly architect (1989)

• François Mitterrand Library in Paris, Dominique Perrault, architect (1989)

• Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in Alexandria, Egypt, Snøhetta architects (1989)

• Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre, in Nouméa, New Caledonia, Renzo Piano architect (1991)

• The National Museum, Seoul, Republic of Korea, Chang-il Kim architect (1995)

• Grand Egyptian Museum, in Cairo, Egypt, Heneghan Peng Architects (2002)

• Forest of Light, Asia Cultural Center in Gwangju, Korea, Kyu Sung Woo Architects, Incorporated (2005) 

• Prehistory Museum, Jeongok, Korea, X-Tu Architects (2006)

• Nam June Paik, Asia Cultural Center in Suwon, Korea, Kirsten Schemel Architekten (2008) 

• Bamiyan Cultural Centre, in Bamiyan, Afghanistan, Carlos Nahuel Recabarren, Manuel Alberto Martinez Catalan & Franco Morero (2015) 

The UNESCO-UIA International Competitions Programme Overview UNESCO-UIA International Competitions & UIA Prizes List