A few months after winning the honorable 2016 Venice Biennale Golden Lion, Pritzker laureate Paulo Mendes da Rocha was announced today as the architecture recipient of the Japan Art Association's Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award for 2016. Comparable to the Nobel Peace Prize in prestige, the Praemium award celebrates extraordinary achievement in the fields of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music and Theatre/Film. It also comes with a cash prize of 15 million yen (approx. US$143,000). Recent winners of the architecture award include Dominique Perrault and Steven Holl.
da Rocha was named a recipient along with four other notable artists: American filmmaker Martin Scorsese, American photographer Cindy Sherman, French sculptor Annette Messager, and Latvian violinist Gidon Kremer. All awardees will be presented with their medals during a formal ceremony in Tokyo on October 18. The Japan Art Association also announced Malaysia’s Five Arts Centre as the winner of the 2016 Grant for Young Artists (5 million yen).
Read on for more about da Rocha.
Well known for his distinctive work with concrete and steel, da Rocha spearheaded the Brutalist movement in Sao Paulo. Born in 1928 in Sao Paulo, da Rocha rose to the top at a young age when he won the competition to design the gymnasium in the Paulistano Athletics Club at age 29.
Following the Paulistano Athletics Club, da Rocha designed more of his notable projects including the renovation of the Pincoteca do Estado de São Paulo, the Brazilian Museum of Sculpture and the Patriarch Plaza redevelopment project with its iconic portico.
“With their sophisticated engineering, these structures highlight the appeal of using simple materials like concrete and steel to structure space to maximum effect. By pursuing what he characterizes as ‘an ideal harmony between the internal and the external,’ he takes into account locality, history and landscape.”
“His first large-scale overseas project, the National Coach Museum in Lisbon, Portugal, was completed in 2015. da Rocha won the Pritzker Prize in 2006 and the Golden Lion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.”
The 2016 Praemium Imperiale laureates join 139 of the greatest cultural figures of the 20th and 21st centuries, including
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