UIA Gold Medal – International Union of Architects

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International Union of Architects, UIA, under the title of the International Union of Architects, is the only international non-governmental organisation that represents the architects of the world.

UIA Gold Medal – International Union of Architects


The UIA was founded on 28 June 1948 in Lausanne, Switzerland, following the merger of the Comité permanent international des Architects and the Réunion International des Architects. Its headquarters are located in Paris. The organisation is recognised as the only global architecture organisation by most United Nations agencies, including UNESCO, UNCHS, ECOSOC, UNIDO, the World Health Organization, and the WTO. The current (2021-2023) president is José Luis Cortés from Mexico.

President is José Luis Cortés
President is José Luis Cortés

The International Union of Architects UIA (International Union of Architects), Since 1984, this organisation has awarded the UIA Gold Medal to appreciate an architect or a group of architects who are alive and to honour the work of that architect, and the contributions he has made to the promotion of the art of architecture to the people and society. It is granted regardless of nationality, race, religion or school of thought. The UIA Gold Medal is held once every year. The first gold medal was awarded to Hassan Fathi, an Egyptian architect, at the Cairo Congress in 1984.

UIA Gold Medal - International Union of Architects
UIA Gold Medal – International Union of Architects

Through its Member Sections, the UIA is represented in over 100 countries and territories, geographically grouped into five regions:

Region I: Western Europe
Region II: Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East
Region III: The Americas
Region IV: Asia and Oceania
Region V: Africa

The governing bodies of the UIA are:

  • The Assembly: the supreme body of the UIA composed of delegates from UIA Member Sections in addition to Council members.
  • Council: between meetings of the Assembly, the Council is responsible for managing and directing the affairs of the Union. It is composed of 4 elected members from each of the UIA’s five regions in addition to the Bureau members.
  • Bureau: composed of the President, the Immediate Past President, the Secretary-general, the Treasurer, and a Vice-President from each Region.

List of UIA Presidents, World Congress of Architects

The UIA World Congresses are key events for professional and cultural exchange among all the world’s architects, bringing together thousands of participants from around the globe. Each event focuses on a different architecture-related theme, developed by eminent personalities from the international architectural, planning and construction fields. Debates, exhibitions, tours and networking events make the UIA Congresses the perfect meeting place for experts, colleagues, friends, and students of architecture.

World Capital of Architecture

In 2017, the UIA adopted a resolution to formally request that UNESCO be associated with its initiative to designate the next UIA World Congress host city as the World Capital of Architecture.

How is the World Capital of Architecture chosen?

The UIA holds the World Congress of Architects every three years, organised by a UIA Member Section in the city elected to host it. As a matter of custom, the UIA General Assembly elects the host city six years in advance. The UIA World Congress now ties directly with the UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture programme. The main World Congress theme and the programme should be complementary to and compatible with the one-year programme of the World Capital of Architecture. After receiving the candidacies of the cities to host and organise the UIA World Congress and General Assembly, a joint UNESCO-UIA committee preselects a maximum of three cities, one of which will subsequently be designated as the World Capital of Architecture for one year.

The joint committee is composed of an equal number of members from each institution, as well as an independent architect appointed by mutual agreement. Committee members cannot have any affiliation with the candidate cities. At its General Assembly, the UIA chooses a host city for the next World Congress and General Assembly from among these preselected cities. The Director-general of UNESCO formally announces the elected city as the World Capital of Architecture.




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