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Rafael Moneo named as recipient of Golden Lion For Lifetime Achievement at the 2021 Venice Biennale
Spain Architecture News - Apr 28, 2021 - 18:29 6996 views
Selected by the Board of Directors of Venice Biennale upon recommendation of the Curator of the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale Hashim Sarkis, the acknowledgment will be awarded to Rafael Moneo on Saturday, May 22nd, together with the Special Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in memoriam to Lina Bo Bardi, during the awards ceremony and inauguration of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2021.
Moneo is known for his "timeless structures" that are blended effortlessly into the landscape, while respecting its own environment.
The National Museum of Roman Art built 1986 in Mérida, Spain is one of his earliest projects, as well as other notable projects like Madrid Atocha railway station in 1992, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in 2002 in Los Angeles and the Prado Museum Extension in 2007.
Bankinter, 1976, Madrid. Image courtesy of fpa.es
"One of the most transformative architects of his generation"
Hashim Sarkis described the architect that "Rafael Moneo is one of the most transformative architects of his generation".
"As a practitioner, and through his broad array of buildings, like the Kursaal Auditorium, The Prado Museum, the Atocha Train Station, and the Los Angeles Cathedral, he has highlighted the ability of every architectural project to respond to contingencies of site and program while transcending them."
"As an educator, he has rigorously guided several generations of architects towards architecture as a vocation. As a scholar, he has combined his visual prowess and analytic rigors to help reinterpret some of the most canonical historic buildings with fresh eyes," Hashim Sarkis added.
Madrid Atocha railway station, 1992, Madrid. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Rafael Moneo, 83, was born in Tudela, Spain and he graduated in 1961 from the Escuela Técnica Superior of Madrid. Between 1958 to 1961, he worked with the architect Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza in Madrid and from 1961-62 in Hellebaeck, Denmark with Jørn Utzon.
In 1965, he returned to Spain and opened his office in Madrid and began teaching at the Escuela Técnica Superior of Madrid.
In 1970 he won a teaching chair in architectural theory at the Escuela Técnica Superior of Barcelona. From 1980 to 1985 he was chaired professor of composition at the Escuela Técnica Superior of Madrid.
In 1985 Rafael Moneo was appointed Chairman of the Architecture Department of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, he worked at the Harvard GSD until 1990. In 1991 he was named Josep Lluís Sert Professor of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design where he continues to lecture as Professor Emeritus.
The Prado extension in Madrid, Spain by Rafael Moneo. Image courtesy of The Kent State Forum on the City
"As a critic of the contemporary scene, he has written on emerging phenomena and key projects and has established some of the most important dialogues on the present scene of architecture with colleagues from around the world," continued Hashim Sarkis.
"Throughout his long career, Moneo has maintained a poetic prowess, reminding us of the powers of architectural form to express, shape but also to endure. He has also been tenaciously committed to architecture as an act of building."
"The Golden Lion for lifetime achievement is only befitting for the architect who took part in the Giudecca housing project of 1983, who won the competition for a new Cinema Palace at the Lido di Venezia in 1991, and who has drawn many a lesson for architecture from Venice," Sarkis added.
Rafael Moneo’s National Museum of Art in Mérida, Spain. Image courtesy of CFile
To celebrate Rafael Moneo, the curator Hashim Sarkis has also created a little exhibition inside the Book Pavilion at the Giardini. The exhibition will present a selection of plastic models and emblematic pictures of the buildings realised by the Spanish architect.
The exhibition can be seen as an answer to the question of Hashim Sarkis "How will we live together?", the theme of the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale.
Among his best known works are the transformation of the Villahermosa Palace into the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (1989-92), the Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation in Palma de Mallorca (1987-1992), the Diagonal Building in Barcelona (in collaboration with Manuel de Solá-Morales, 1988-1993), the Museums of Modern Art and Architecture in Stockholm, Sweden (1994-98), the Kursaal Auditorium and Congress Center in San Sebastián (1991-1999), the Prado Museum Extension (2001-2007), the Souks in Beirut (1996-2009), the Northwest Science Building for Columbia University (2007-2010), the Princeton Neuroscience Institute and Peretzman-Scully Hall (2007-2013).
Museum Universidad De Navarra in Navarra, Spain by Rafael Moneo. Image © Ruben P. Bescos
Rafael Moneo has won numerous prizes and distinctions including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1996, the Royal Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2003, the Prince of Asturias Prize in the Arts in 2013 and the Praemium Imperiale in 2017.
In 1997 he was elected member of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Spain.
In 2019, British architect, historian, critic and educator Kenneth Frampton was awarded with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Architecture Biennale.
The 17th exhibition of the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale will open to the public on May 22nd and will be on view until November 21st, 2021 at venues Arsenale and the Giardini.
Top image: Rafael Moneo © Germán Saiz