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Paulo Mendes de Rocha Awarded 2017 Royal Gold Medal by RIBA

Brazil Architecture News - Feb 2, 2017 - 11:43   11706 views

Paulo Mendes de Rocha Awarded 2017 Royal Gold Medal by RIBA

Acclaimed Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes de Rocha has been awarded with the 2017 Royal Gold Medal for architecture by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) at a ceremony at the RIBA headquarters in London yesterday.

Announced on September 29, 2016, the award was presented on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen-this prestigious award is given in recognition of a lifetime’s work, the Royal Gold Medal is given to a person or group of people who have had a significant influence ''either directly or indirectly on the advancement of architecture''.

Paulo Mendes de Rocha Awarded 2017 Royal Gold Medal by RIBA

The brazilian sculpture museum in São Paulo (1988). Image © Nelson Kon

Paulo Mendes de Rocha was born in Vitória, Brazil in 1928, and has received international acclaim for his significant contribution to architecture. Rocha is one of the most prominent Brazilian architects elevating Brutalist legacy of Brazilian architecture with use of exposed concrete and rough finishes-Rocha's buildings are widely credited with transforming the city of São Paulo.

''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 RIBA President and chair of the selection committee Jane Duncan.

Paulo Mendes de Rocha Awarded 2017 Royal Gold Medal by RIBA

Capela de São Pedro interior, São Paulo, 1989. Image © Cristiano Mascaro

''Revolutionary and transformative, Mendes da Rocha’s work typifies the architecture of 1950s Brazil – raw, and beautifully crafted concrete'', Duncan added.

''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.''

Paulo Mendes de Rocha Awarded 2017 Royal Gold Medal by RIBA

Museu Brasileiro da Escultura (MuBE), São Paulo, 1988. Image © Nelson Kon

Mendes da Rocha’snumerous notable cultural buildings, built in his particular Brazilian Brutalist style with exposed concrete structures and rough finishes, are widely credited with transforming the city of São Paulo. 

Paulo Mendes de Rocha Awarded 2017 Royal Gold Medal by RIBA

Athletic Club, São Paulo, 1961. Image courtesy of PMDR archive

In 1957 he completed his first celebrated building, the Athletic Club of São Paulo, followed by a large number of further public buildings in the city including 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). 

Outside São Paulo, notable buildings include the Serra Dourada football stadium in Goiás (1973), Lady of the Conception Chapel in Recife (2006) and Cais das Artes arts centre in Vitória (2008).

Paulo Mendes de Rocha Awarded 2017 Royal Gold Medal by RIBA

Residence Eduardo Leme, São Paulo, Brazil, 1974. Image © Leonardo Finotti

''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'', said Paulo Mendes de Rocha.

''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.''

Paulo Mendes de Rocha Awarded 2017 Royal Gold Medal by RIBA

Masetti House, São Paulo, Brazil, 1968. Image © Leonardo Finotti

Paulo Mendes da Rocha has previously been honoured with the Mies van der Rohe Prize in 2000, Pritzker Prize in 2006, the Venice Biennale Golden Lion for lifetime achievement in 2016 and the Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award in 2016. See Paulo Mendes da Rocha's key projects contributing Brazilian Brutalist legacy. 

Last year, British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid was awarded with the 2016 Royal Gold Medal -Hadid is the first female architect to be awarded the prestigious award in her own right -she received the Medal just one month before her death. 

Awarded since 1848, previous winners include Zaha Hadid (2016), Frank Gehry (2000), Norman Foster (1983), Frank Lloyd Wright (1941) and Sir George Gilbert Scott (1859); Oscar Niemeyer (1998) is the only other Brazilian architect to have received the honour.

Top image: Paulo Mendes da Rocha with Royal Gold Medal. Image © Morley von Sternberg

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