The World of Architecture loses Paulo Mendes da Rocha today

by Cecilia Di Marzo
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Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha, one of the biggest names in worldwide architecture, passed away today at the age of 92.

His latest prestigious Award dates back only to last month, when the UIA - International Union of Architects awarded the 2021 Gold Medal to Paulo Mendes da Rocha, "whose timeless work has marked the field of architecture. The Jury appreciated Mendes da Rocha’s unique status as a daring iconoclast whose work has taken architecture to new heights of technical virtuosity. His work also embodies strong elements of personal and social integrity, reflected in his ability to transcend limits while retaining a fundamental sense of place that is grounded organically in his native land and culture.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha's UIA Gold Medal exemplifies a lifetime of achievement spanning seven decades that emphasized architecture as a public act".


Born in Vitória, Brazil in 1928, Paulo Mendes da Rocha has received international acclaim for his significant contribution to architecture. 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.

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 MuBE | Museu Brasileiro de Escultura (1988), Patriach Plaza (1992-2002), the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (1993) and the FIESP Centro Cultural (1997).


MuBE | Museu Brasileiro de Escultura - Ph. Nelson Kon

Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo - Ph. Nelson Kon 


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).

Cais das Artes - Ph. Metro Arquitetos 


Despite Mendes da Rocha’s international reputation, there have been just a few chances to experience his work outside his home country, with the significant exception of Brazil’s pavilion at Expo ’70 (Osaka, Japan) and Portugal’s National Coach Museum (Lisbon, 2015).


Museu dos Coches - Courtesy of UIA


Paulo Mendes da Rocha has been honoured with the Mies van der Rohe Prize (2000), Pritzker Prize (2006), the Venice Biennale Golden Lion for lifetime achievement (2016), the Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award (2016) and the RIBA 2017 Royal Gold Medal for architecture (2017).

 

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Cover photo Courtesy of UIA - International Union of Architects

 

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    References
    MuBE | Museu Brasileiro de Escultura 7

    MuBE | Museu Brasileiro de Escultura

    São Paulo / Brazil / 1988

    Patriach Plaza 5

    Patriach Plaza

    São Paulo / Brazil / 2002

    Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo 4

    Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo

    São Paulo / Brazil / 1993

    FIESP Centro Cultural 2

    FIESP Centro Cultural

    São Paulo / Brazil / 1997

    Cais das Artes 29

    Cais das Artes

    Gualeguaychú / Brazil / 2010