Sao Paulo-based architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha has been honored with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the fast-approaching 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, titled “Reporting from the Front”. Upon the recommendation of Biennale Curator Alejandro Aravena, the Board of Directors decided on Mendes da Rocha's selection as the 2016 winner. Previous recipients include Phyllis Lambert, Álvaro Siza, and Rem Koolhaas.
After graduating from the Mackenzie Architecture School in 1954, Paulo Mendes da Rocha first gained public recognition when he won the 1957 national competition to design the Clube Atlético Paulistano gymnasium. Over the last few decades, his portfolio comprises a multitude of houses, school, apartment buildings, theater sets, museums, furniture (like his “Paulistano” chair), and urban projects. Amid the numerous international architecture awards Mendes da Rocha has received and as an influential architectural educator, he was also named as the 2006 Pritzker Prize laureate. He also represented Brazil during the 7th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2000.
The Board of Directors cited Mendes da Rocha's architecture for “its Timelessness. Many decades after being built, each of his projects have resisted the test of time, both stylistically and physically. This astonishing consistency may be the consequence of his ideological integrity and his structural genius.”
The architect was also noted as “a nonconformist challenger and simultaneously a passionate realist. His fields of interest are beyond architecture, in political, social, geographical, historical and technical realms. The role model he played for many generations of architects in Brazil, Latin America and everywhere is that of a person able to join shared and collective efforts as well as someone able to attract others to the cause of a better built environment.”
Mendes da Rocha will be presented with the Golden Lion at the Ca’ Giustinian during opening day of the 2016 Biennale on May 28.
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