Paulo Mendes da Rocha officially received the RIBA 2017 Royal Gold Medal during a ceremony today in London. Awarded since 1848 and on behalf of the Queen of England, the Gold Medal is the RIBA's highest honor awarded to an individual or a group of people who have significantly influenced “the advancement of architecture either directly or indirectly”.
Deemed as Brazil's most celebrated living architect, Pritzker laureate Paulo Mendes da Rocha is the second Brazilian architect to receive the medal, joining Oscar Niemeyer who won it in 1998.
Read on for more.
Born in October 1928 in the city of Vitória, Paulo Mendes da Rocha is best known for his Brutalist structures that are mostly located in his native Brazil; his notable projects include the Athletic Club of São Paulo that brought him into the global spotlight, and his numerous public and cultural buildings in São Paulo like the Saint Peter Chapel (1987), the Brazilian Sculpture Museum MuBE (1988), Patriach Plaza (1992-2002), the Pinacoteca do Estado gallery (1993), and the FIESP Cultural Center (1997), among others.
“Paulo Mendes da Rocha’s work is highly unusual in comparison to the majority of the world’s most celebrated architects. He is an architect with an incredible international reputation, yet almost all his masterpieces are built exclusively in his home country,” said Jane Duncan, RIBA president and chair of the selection committee, in a statement. “Revolutionary and transformative, Mendes da Rocha’s work typifies the architecture of 1950s Brazil – raw, and beautifully crafted concrete. Paulo Mendes da Rocha is a world-class architect and a true living legend; I am very pleased to present him with the Royal Gold Medal, the world’s highest honour for architecture.”
On receiving the medal, Paulo Mendes da Rocha said: “After so many years of work, it is a great joy to receive this recognition from the Royal Institute of British Architects for the contribution my lifetime of work and experiments have given to the progress of architecture and society. I would like to send my warmest wishes to all those who share my passion, in particular British architects, and share this moment with all the architects and engineers that have collaborated on my projects.”
All images courtesy of RIBA.
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