Joining Copenhagen and Rio de Janeiro, Barcelona has been named as the UIA's 2026 World Capital of Architecture by UNESCO, and will be hosting the International Union of Architect’s World Congress two years after the event in Copenhagen. Barcelona and Beijing were both contenders for the 2026 title, 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.
Barcelona is anticipating several architecture events in the upcoming years. The long-awaited completion of the Sagrada Familia is expected to take place in time for the 100th anniversary of Antoni Gaudi's death. The city has also been working 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).
UNESCO named Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as the World Capital of Architecture for 2020. The city was meant to be the venue for the 27th World Congress of Architects but due to the pandemic, the event took place digitally. As the first World Capital of Architecture, the Brazilian city held a series of events under the theme “All the worlds. Just one world,” and promoted the internationally agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s 11th Goal: “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”
Established in 1948, The International Union of Architects (UIA) is a non-governmental organization is supported by UNESCO, and aims to highlight the role of architecture and urban planning in shaping a sustainable future and tackling global challenges. Designated triennially, the city World Capital of Architecture will become an international forum for debate around issues related to the urban environment.