International Union of Architects

The International Union of Architects (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.[1] The UIA was founded in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1948. The General Secretariat is located in Paris. It is recognized 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 (2017-2020) president is Thomas Vonier from the United States of America.

International Union of Architects (UIA)
Region served
Official language
English, French
United States Thomas Vonier


The UIA convenes the World Congress of Architects every three years, each organised by a UIA member section that has competed for the honour. The UIA General Assembly meets during the World Congress of Architects, to conduct the business of the UIA and to elect UIA officers for a three-year term.[1]

Former congresses were:

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


Since 1961 the UIA awards four prizes triennially:[3]

UIA Gold MedalEdit

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.[3] 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

International design competitionsEdit

The UIA manages international architecture competitions for some of the most important spaces of our age. The UIA managed international design competitions that resulted in these important buildings:

Work ProgrammesEdit

Architecture & Society

  • Heritage and Cultural Identity
  • Architecture and Children
  • Architecture for All


  • Intermediate Cities:Urbanism and Architects Learning Platform (UIA-CIMES)
  • Community Architecture: Architecture and Human Rights (UIA-CA+HR)[4]
  • Social Habitat

Public Facilities

  • Public Spaces
  • Educational and Cultural Spaces
  • Sports and Leisure
  • Public Health


  1. ^ a b UIA homepage Archived 2009-10-09 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "The IAB presents the official logo of the 2020 UIA congress in Rio | INTERNATIONAL UNION OF ARCHITECTS". 2017-11-13. Retrieved 2019-10-22.
  3. ^ a b UIA homepage: prizes Archived 2009-10-09 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "UIA | Community Architecture and Human Rights". Community Arch. Retrieved 2019-10-22.

External linksEdit