General Introduction

International architecture competitions broaden the horizons of design by calling on the creativity of architects throughout the world. In 1956, UNESCO commissioned the International Union of Architects to ensure respect for international standards in the launch and operation of international architecture and urban planning competitions. These standards are laid out in the UNESCO-UIA Regulations that give guidelines for the project brief, procedures, jury composition, winner's compensation, schedule, and publication of results. The iconic structures in the following list were all realized through international competitions approved by the UIA and carried out under its oversight:

    Sydney Opera House, Australia, JørnUtzon architect

    Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, France, Renzo Piano, Richard Rodgers architects

    Foreign Affairs Ministry in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Henning Larsen architect

    Tokyo International Forum, Japan, Rafael Viñoly architect

    François Mitterrand Library in Paris, Dominique Perrault, architect

    Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in Alexandria, Egypt, Snøhetta architects

The experience and authority conferred on UIA by UNESCO allows us to serve as a reference in terms of ethics and prestige in the realm of international architecture and urban planning competitions. The UIA also advises on the organization of international architectural prizes. Launched by public or private organisms these prizes spotlight specific architectural realizations, materials, technologies, themes, or research.

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