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Ciutat de Barcelona

Barcelona prepares its candidacy to be the World Capital of Architecture and host the UIA World Congress in 2026

© Col·legi d'Arquitectes de Catalunya (COAC)

The city of Barcelona hopes to be the World Capital of Architecture in 2026 and host the World Congress and General Assembly of the International Union of Architects (IUA). With this goal in mind, the Municipal Plenary approved an Institutional Declaration in 2019 to work closely with the COAC and the CSCAE to present the city's candidacy.

In January 2020, the UIA officially named Barcelona as a candidate city with a single rival: the Chinese capital, Beijing. The City Council has now formally approved the candidacy and committed to financing the organizational costs if Barcelona is chosen. The city's candidacy will be presented in July 2021 in Rio de Janeiro, where the winning city will be announced.

The aim of this initiative is to take advantage of this event to showcase the role of architecture and urban planning in shaping the city model and in the projects being rolled out today to tackle contemporary urban challenges. In addition to the UIA Congress, which will be coordinated by the COAC, the plan is to organise a range of different events year round to raise awareness of the importance and value of architecture and urban planning.

Barcelona, a hub for architecture-related events
If Barcelona is chosen, this event will join other international architecture-related events to be hosted by the city. The Mies van der Rohe Pavilion has been chosen as one of two sites to host the 15th Spanish Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism (BEAU), along with the Museo Patio Herreriano in Valladolid. The COAC, the CCCB, ETSAB-UPC, ETSA La Salle-URL and BB Construmat will also be taking part in the fifteenth BEAU with their own exhibitions and activities in addition to, and in synergy with, those of the Biennial.

In addition, Barcelona aims to play an active role in the New European Bauhaus, a multidisciplinary project instigated by the European Commission to serve as an incubator of innovation and creativity to promote the design of spaces for sustainable, inclusive and quality living. Barcelona is determined to make an active contribution to this process and to host one of its first headquarters in 2022.