Rio de Janeiro declared World Capital of Architecture for 2020

January 24, 2019



Arielle Abrigo

Last Friday, on January 18, 2019, 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, have announced that the city of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil is anticipated to become the World Capital of Architecture for 2020. “The World Capital of Architecture initiative underscores the common commitment of UNESCO and the UIA to preserve architectural heritage in the urban context,” according to Ernesto Ottone R. “Through the range and quality of its activities, the World Capital of Architecture in Rio de Janeiro will demonstrate the crucial role of architecture and culture in sustainable urban development,” he adds. The city surpassed Paris and Melbourne to get the position.

The city is a center of panoramas and resonances. As varied as its people is the collection of remarkable architecture found in Brazil’s second most populous city. Rio de Janeiro parades a mix of colonial and modern architecture—from Eurocentric historical architecture to 20th century regionalist contemporary wonders. Sites like the statue of Christ the Redeemer and contemporary constructions like the Museum of Tomorrow are considered marvels. The city also houses the works of renowned architects, such as Oscar Niemeyer, who designed the capital city of Brasilia. Cultural venues are also becoming prominent in Rio de Janeiro.

The initiative outlines the common commitment of UNESCO and the UIA to preserve architectural heritage in the urban context. The World  Capital of Architecture is envisioned to become an international forum for debates about unrelenting global challenges from the viewpoints of culture, cultural heritage, urban planning and architecture. As the first World Capital of Architecture, Rio de Janeiro will hold a series of events under the theme “All the worlds. Just one world,” and endorse the internationally settled 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s 11th Goal: “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.”

UNESCO, alongside the UIA and other local institutions, will organize activities to encourage projects including architects and urban planners, as well as policy makers, social institutions, and professionals from other areas involving artists and writers in an open and creative space of dialogue and innovation.

Rio de Janeiro will also be hosting the 27th edition of the International Union of Architects’ World Congress in July 2020, which takes place every three years. B ender

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