Why visit Rio?

Museum of Tomorrow / Alexandre Macieira, Riotur

Why should you architect visit Rio de Janeiro in 2020? Apart from the commonplace of natural beauty and cultural life, the city collects in its almost 500 years unique architectural gems, either for their style or their historical relevance. It was not without reason that the city was chosen to host the 27th World Congress of Architects, UIA2020RIO, and to be the first to receive the title of World Capital of Architecture by UNESCO.

Born in the midst of a struggle to expel the French from Guanabara Bay, Rio exhibits its military heritage from the colonial period in fortresses, such as the Fort Duque de Caxias (1776) or the Fortress of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, built in 1711 on the foundations of a French fortification. Another example of colonial architecture is the Paço Imperial, completed in 1743 and to this day one of the most beautiful buildings in the city’s central area. Noteworthy, however, is the Carioca Aqueduct or Arcos da Lapa, the most impressive construction of the colonial period, which was designed to supply the city with drinking water from the Tijuca massif.

Paço Imperial / Alexandre Macieira, Riotur
Arcos da Lapa / Alexandre Macieira, Riotur

Considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Valongo Harbour (1811) is an important material trace of the arrival of enslaved Africans in the Americas.

Valongo Harbour / Alexandre Macieira, Riotur

Palaces, public buildings and the Botanical Garden mark the exuberance of the United Kingdom and the Empire, while Mayor Pereira Passos's profound urban reform (1902-1906) shows a city reinventing itself as a metropolis for a new century.

And the city never stopped reinventing itself. On the winding lines of the Pedregulho Building (1947), by Affonso Eduardo Reidy, on the straight lines of Gustavo Capanema Palace (1943), created by a committee of young architects with consultancy by Le Corbusier, in Flamengo Park, by Reidy and landscaper Burle Marx. With recent urban interventions, such as Rio-Cidade, Favela-Bairro and the revitalization of the Port Zone, Rio remains a city of many styles and deep contrasts.

Flamengo Park / Alexandre Macieira, Riotur

The theme of slums and popular neighborhoods is a fundamental challenge to be understood and faced in order to reduce intra-urban inequalities and to enable the city to develop fully. Being a theme not only of Rio but of many cities in Brazil and other countries cities and the world, it will be the object of wide reflection and proposals in 2020.


Hundreds of architects, urbanists and other interested groups from the civil society have already guaranteed their presences at the event, which will turn Rio into the epicentre of the debate about the future of the cities around the world.

If you have not registered yet, go to the official website and enjoy the discount.

The World Congress of Architects happens every three years and the one in Rio marks the return of the event to Latin American after 42 years. In 1963, Havana was the host city; in 1969, it was Buenos Aires and, in 1978, Mexico City. To host the event in 2020, Rio de Janeiro has competed against Paris and Melbourne.

With the theme “All the worlds. Just one world. Architecture 21” is promoted by the International Union of Architects (UIA) and is organized by the Institute of Architects of Brazil (IAB). It will reunite specialists and enthusiasts of fairer and more dynamic cities to talk about solutions between the 19th and the 23rd of July 2020. Before that, on July 17 and 18, Rio will also host the World Forum of Cities UNESCO-UIA, with mayors of previous host cities and political, entrepreneurial, cultural and social leaderships.


Rio de Janeiro is the first city to win the title of World Capital of Architecture by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Union of Architects (UIA). Throughout 2020, the city will host a series of events, including the 27th World Congress of Architects, the World Forum of Cities, expositions and public contests. Apart from showing to the world the architectural importance of Rio, the title is also an opportunity for reflection about the future, to plan what is wanted for cities all over the world.



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