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
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
1st1948 LausanneArchitecture Faced with its New Tasks
2nd1951 RabatHow Architecture is Dealing with its New Tasks
3rd1953 LisbonArchitecture at the Crossroads
4th1955 The HagueArchitecture and the Evolutions of Building
5th1958 MoscowConstruction and Reconstruction
6th1961 LondonNew Techniques and New Materials
7th1963 HavanaArchitecture in Underdeveloped Countries
8th1965 ParisThe Training of Architects
9th1967 PragueArchitecture and the Human Milieu
10th1969 Buenos AiresArchitecture as a Social Factor
11th1972 VarnaArchitecture and Leisure
12th1975 MadridCreativity and Technology
13th1978 Mexico CityArchitecture and National Development
14th1981 WarsawArchitecture, Man, Environment
15th1985 CairoPresent and Future Missions of the Architect
16th1987 BrightonShelter and Cities - Building Tomorrow's World
17th1990 MontrealCultures and Technologies
18th1993 ChicagoArchitecture at the Crossroads - Designing for a Sustainable Future
19th1996 BarcelonaPresent and Futures. Architecture in Cities
20th1999 BeijingArchitecture of the 21st Century
21st2002 BerlinResource Architecture
22nd2005 IstanbulGrand Bazaar of Architectures
23rd2008 TurinTransmitting Architecture
24th2011 TokyoDESIGN 2050 Beyond disasters, through Solidarity, towards Sustainability
25th2014 DurbanArchitecture otherwhere
26th2017 SeoulSoul of City
27th2020 Rio de JaneiroAll 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]

  • Auguste Perret Prize, for technology applied to architecture
  • Sir Patrick Abercrombie Prize, for town-planning or territorial development
  • Jean Tschumi Prize, for architectural criticism or architectural education
  • Sir Robert Matthew Prize, for improvement in the quality of human settlements.

UIA Gold Medal

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:

1984Hassan FathyEgypt
1987Reima PietilaFinland
1990Charles CorreaIndia
1993Fumihiko MakiJapan
1996Rafael MoneoSpain
1999Ricardo Legorreta VilchisMexico
2002Renzo PianoItaly
2005Tadao AndoJapan
2008Teodoro Gonzalez de LeonMexico
2011Álvaro Siza VieiraPortugal
2014Ieoh Ming PeiUSA
2017Toyo ItoJapan

International design competitions

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 Programmes

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


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