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RIBA Names Gold Medal Winner

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

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Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha has won the coveted 2017 Royal Gold Medal for architecture, the Royal Institute of British Architects announced.

Mendes da Rocha, who has been designing buildings for more than half a century, is known for his “Brazilian brutalism”—a style featuring raw concrete and rough finishes with huge open spaces and glazing.

“Revolutionary and transformative, Mendes da Rocha’s work typifies the architecture of 1950s Brazil—raw, chunky and beautifully ‘brutal’ concrete,” RIBA President Jane Duncan said in announcing the accolade.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha
Photos: Courtesy of RIBA

Paulo Mendes da Rocha, 87, was awarded the 2017 Royal Gold Medal for architecture.

In an interview with designboom in 2007, the architect said his work has been influenced by many great “architecture adventurers.”

“I love the unknown architects who realized Stonehenge; I love the architects who realized the pyramid of Cairo, a machine of its own construction, an inclined plane, which permits one to place a stone 130 meters high—marvelous.”

High-profile Portfolio

The 87-year-old’s body of work is mostly limited to Brazil, where he has completed many high-profile projects, including the Paulistano Athletic Club in São Paulo; Cais das Artes in Vitória, São Paulo's Brazilian Museum of Sculpture; and a dramatic canopy structure at the Patriarch Plaza, also in São Paulo.

Mendes da Rocha

The Lisbon Coach Museum in Portugal was completed in 2015.

One of his few works outside Brazil includes the recently completed Lisbon Coach Museum in Portugal.

The Royal Gold Medal is awarded in recognition of a “body of work, rather than for one building or for an architect who is currently fashionable,” according to RIBA. Mendes da Rocha will be presented with the medal during a ceremony in early 2017.


Tagged categories: Aesthetics; Architects; Architecture; Awards and honors; Color + Design; Color + Design; Europe; South America

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