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Rio de Janeiro named as first World Capital of Architecture for 2020


The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has named the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro as the World Capital of Architecture for 2020.

The announcement was made by UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Culture Ernesto Ottone R, Thomas Vonier, President of the International Union of Architects (UIA) and Verena Vicentini Andreatta, Municipal Secretary of the City of Rio for Urbanism, on January 18, 2019.


Rio will be the first city to receive the title under a programme launched together by UNESCO and the International Union of Architects (UIA) in November 2018. The city beat Paris and Melbourne to get the position.

World Capital of Architecture

The initiative underscores the common commitment of UNESCO and the UIA to preserve architectural heritage in the urban context.

As the first World Capital of Architecture, Rio de Janeiro will demonstrate the crucial role of architecture and culture in sustainable urban development, through the range and quality of its activities.

It is intended to become an international forum for debates about pressing global challenges from the perspectives of culture, cultural heritage, urban planning and architecture.

About Rio de Janeiro

As one of the oldest cities in Brazil, Rio has a mix of modern and colonial architecture, with world-renowned sites like the statue of Christ the Redeemer and contemporary constructions like the Museum of Tomorrow.

The city is also home to works of renowned architects such as Oscar Niemeyer, who also designed the capital city of Brasilia.

With the recognition as the World Capital of Architecture, the city will hold a series of events under the theme “All the worlds. Just one world,” and promote the internationally agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s 11th Goal: “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”

The city would also be hosting the 27th edition of the International Union of Architects’ World Congress in July 2020. The World Congress takes place every three years.

Other Details

UNESCO, the UIA and local institutions would be organising activities to promote projects involving architects and urban planners as well as policymakers, social institutions and professionals from other sectors including artists and writers in an open and creative space of dialogue and innovation.

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