Barcelona, World Capital of Architecture 2026

Barcelona is a city of architecture thanks to the uniqueness and beauty of many of its buildings, the way in which everyone works together to preserve its centuries-old architectural heritage, and its ongoing ambition to provide us with welcoming, accessible and inclusive public spaces.

But these are not the only reasons why the UNESCO-UIA has chosen it as the World Capital of Architecture. Disciplines and societies evolve. So Barcelona and architecture are doing the same. The 1996 UIA World Congress exported an Olympic urban model. In the wake of property, social, health and climate crises, the paradigm for our architecture has been profoundly renewed: to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. As a socially diverse city with a dense urban fabric, limited natural resources and a Mediterranean climate (mild and sunny but with periods of drought and prolonged heatwaves), Barcelona is turning to architecture, urban planning and landscape design to address social, environmental and economic sustainability challenges. The city has a chance to rethink itself, move forward and set an example.

We must use our platform as world capital to talk to everybody about architecture. For 2026, we are coordinating a programme of architectural dissemination for all, led by our chief architect, with the Architecture Weeks (this year from 14 May to 28 June) as a prelude, in collaboration with a very active ecosystem that nurtures architectural culture in our part of the world and anyone else who wants to contribute.