UNESCO and the UIA held a pre-launch ceremony to announce the activities of the City of Copenhagen (Denmark) “2023 UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture” on 13 January 2023.

The ceremony was presided by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, in the presence of UIA President José Luis Cortés and Dominique Perrault, President of the UNESCO-UIA Joint Committee of the World Capital of Architecture.

“This architectural awareness is essential at a time when we need new solutions, new materials and new ways of thinking about shared spaces” stated Audrey Azoulay during the ceremony. “For, in recent decades, Copenhagen has conducted formal urban and architectural experiments that are exceptional in more ways than one – especially regard to nature” she added.

Speaking as President of the Joint Committee whose role is to oversee the World Capital of Architecture (WCA) programme, Dominique Perrault said that Copenhagen would provide an opportunity to explore the relationship between architecture around the world and UNESCO. He expressed optimism that the joint programme would be a successful undertaking.

José Luis Cortés recalled that the UIA has had a long partnership with UNESCO and that the WCA was a natural extension of their collaboration. “We will be celebrating the UIA’s 75th anniversary during the World Congress of Architects this coming July and the city of Copenhagen is the right place to invite the world’s architects to seek solutions on how to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

Kristine Munkgård Pedersen, Director of the Copenhagen World Capital of Architecture 2023 programme gave a quick overview of the programme of activities for 2023 which would involve more than 200 single events with a wide range of partners offering a diverse programme to a diverse audience

Camilla Van Deurs, Chief Architect of the City of Copenhagen, explained that the WCA initiative would celebrate the city’s architectural past while seeking solutions for the future. It would seek to address global urban issues and contribute to democratic dialogue. “Copenhagen’s history dates back to over 800 years ago. It is a legacy built by architects and we have a responsibility to preserve and protect our heritage,” she said. 

The city of Copenhagen was officially designated as UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture for 2023  by the UNESCO Director-General on the recommendation of the UIA General Assembly and the support of the UNESCO-UIA Joint Committee of the World Capital of Architecture. The city will host a series of major events and programmes during the course of the year on the theme “Sustainable Futures – Leave No One Behind”, under the overall narrative ”Copenhagen in Common”. The year’s celebration will particularly address the common urban issues faced by the cities and how architecture can support building a more sustainable future. 

The programme of events for the Copenhagen WCA 2023 will be officially launched on 17 January 2023 in the presence of the Lord Mayor and HRH Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark.

Visit the Copenhagen WCA website and view the programme of events. 

Read more about the UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture