The roots of the UIA Education Commission date back to 1995 when the first effort to develop the UNESCO-UIA Charter commenced under the leadership of UIA President Vassilis Sgoutas. The Charter, initially approved by the UIA in 1996, was drafted by a group coordinated by Fernando Ramos Galino of Spain.  It included: Lakhman Alwis, Sri Lanka; Balkrishna Doshi, India; Alexandre Koudryavtsev, Russia; Jean-Pierre Elog, Mbassi, Benin; Xavier Cortes Rocha, Mexico; Ashraf Salama, Egypt; Roland Schweitzer, France; Roberto Segre, Brazil; Vladimir Slapeta, Czech Republic; and Paul Virilio, France. The aim of the Charter was, and continues to be, the creation of a global network of architectural education within which individual achievements can be recognized.  This, while enhancing the understanding that architectural education addresses some of the most significant environmental and professional challenges of the contemporary world. Over the subsequent three decades, efforts to develop the Charter evolved into one of the foundational components of the UIA.

In the Triennale Cycle (2023-2026), the Architectural Education Commission, one of only six such commissions in the UIA, operates as an integral locus of its activities in the realm of global professional education. The Commission has the key purpose to:

  • Act as a think-tank for architectural education policy, proposing guidelines, documents, proposals, and views related to education, teaching and learning practices and outcomes. The aim is to facilitate access to high quality professional education globally, focusing on increasing the international mobility of academic architectural credentials and on developing a shared understanding of the role of education in fostering a distinguished profession.

Relevant actions include:

  • Undertake a comparative study of relevant architectural education systems.
  • Discuss the evolution of the profession of architect and define the role of the architect in collaboration with the PPC.
  • Define an appropriate education to face future challenges.
  • Review the UNESCO – UIA Charter.
  • Organize the third cycle of the Award “Innovation in Education of Architecture.”

Until December 2023, the Education Commission used to include the validation of study programmes leading to professional degrees in architecture through the UNESCO-UIA Study Programme Validation System which aims to set an international standard for excellence in professional education in architecture, ensuring the integrity of validated programs. As of this Triennale Cycle, the UNESCO-UIA Validation System became a separate Commission.

The UNESCO-UIA Charter on Architectural Education, published in 1996, lays out a series of guidelines aimed at ensuring that young architects receive an education that fully prepares them to meet the professional, social, and cultural challenges of the globalised profession. The Charter is the key document that underpins the activities of the UIA Education Commission. The Charter is updated triennially to reflect advances in the practice of architecture and to address emerging environmental, social, and economic challenges facing the profession.

We believe that architectural education in the 21st century demands a visionary response to the world around us.  It requires creativity and innovation; research and investigation; collaboration and civic engagement; environmental awareness and technical competence. As such, our efforts to pursue excellence in architectural education globally endure.

We launched the Inaugural Award for Innovation in Architectural Education in November 2019 to celebrate innovation across cultural and geographic boundaries and to promote inspiring pedagogical practices contributing to the creation of sustainable environments. 16 entires from 9 countries on 4 continents were submitted, and the awarded and commended schemes were presented in a special session as part of the UIA World Congress 2021 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Drawing upon the outcomes identified through the Award, the Commission has since organized a series of presentations and webinars to demonstrate exemplary practices in architectural pedagogy and in developing architectural and urban solutions that respond to environmental and social challenges.

Efforts of the UIA Education Commission continue through focus groups which represent distinguished expertise from around the world.  More recently the UIA Education Commission has joined the UIA initiative of designating the Year 2022 as the Year of Design for Health, and with the imperative of educating future architects to design in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We launched the Second Edition of the Award for Innovation in Architectural Education through which 15 submissions from 12 countries on 4 continents were shortlisted out of over 35 registrations. Winning entries were exhibited in the UIA World Congress 2021 in Copenhagen, Denmark in special sessions on the future of architectural education and architectural education for a sustainable future.

We continue to promote excellence through the launch of the third edition of the Award for Innovation in Architecture Education in 2024.  Working in collaboration with other UIA Commissions, this edition of the Award will identify and celebrate excellence in pedagogical practices that address the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In Barcelona, Spain, through our engaged participation in the 2026 UIA World Congress, we look forward to celebrating excellence in architectural education, to debating the projects awarded and commended through the third edition of the UIA Award for Innovation in Architecture Education, to present a future vision for architectural education and the associated role of the architect in the 21st Century.

Selma Harrington
Ashraf Salama
Jana Revedin
Mladen Jadric
Christine Leconte
Hugo Franck
Stefano Francesco Musso
Bálint Bachmann
Cristian Tiberiu Blidariu
Andrii Markovskyi
Valter Luis Caldana Junior
Reynaldo Ledgard
Constance Zurmendi Dibarboure
Deborah Barnstone
Xinnan Zhang
Kaname Yanagisawa
Jean-Jacques Kotto
Vipin Yétundranathsingh Dhunnoo
Kevin Bingham
South Africa
Bassem Ariguib
South Africa
Nino Imnadze
Dimitris Gourdoukis
Mohammad Ali Naqi
Xiangning Li
Sing Yeung Sunnie Lau
Hong Kong SAR China
Arjun Basnet
Jean Cornejo
Kee Hyun Ahn
South Korea
Job Amado Varela
Cape Verde
Kaninga Yacoub Abderamane
Iman Gawad
Djibril Mohamed Diarra
Igbayemi Daniel Akeremale
Joseph Conteh
Sierra Leone