The Board of Directors of La Biennale di Venezia, upon recommendation from Alejandro Aravena, have announced the Brazilian Pritzker Prize-winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha as the recipient of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, Reporting From the Front. Citing the "timelessness" of his work "both physically and stylistically" as "the most striking attribute of his architecture," the board have also stated that "this astonishing consistency may be the consequence of his ideological integrity and structural genius."
For the recent inauguration of the Museu dos Coches in Lisbon, between September and October Sopro Colectivo hosted their exhibition "Fado Tropical," including 26 photos by Fernando Guerra and an interview with the building's architect, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, who today turns 87 years old.
Constructed on the banks of the Tagus River, the first building in Europe by the Brazilian Pritzker Prize winner was surrounded by controversy during its construction, and today surprise visitors from all over, housing the world's largest collection of carriages. In the interview given at his own office, Mendes da Rocha talks about the specificity of the area, his approach to the historical context and memory related to coaches, and his concise adaptations of the extensive program to the complexity of the surroundings.
"All space must be attached to a value, to a public dimension. There is no private space. The only private space that you can imagine is the human mind." - Paulo Mendes da Rocha, May 26, 2004
Paulo Mendes da Rocha is one of Brazil's greatest architects and urbanists. Born in Vitória, Espírito Santo in 1928, Mendes da Rocha won the 2006 Pritzker Prize, and is one of the most representative architects of the Brazilian Paulista School, also known as "Paulista Brutalism" that utilizes more geometric lines, rougher finishes and bulkier massing than other Brazilian Modernists such as Oscar Niemeyer.
Australia-based cosmetics company Aesop is clearly dedicated to design. Over the years, the company has worked with architects such as Snøhetta, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Torafu, and Ilse Crawford to create unique stores around the world.
To pay "tribute to the creative processes, materials and features" that characterize each of its store designs, Aesop has a launched a new website called Taxonomy of Design. Inspired by the compendium, we’ve rounded up some of the best Aesop store designs, each of which is distinctly developed, largely by local designers who are inspired by the location of the store. Read on for nine Aesop shops that revitalize architectural simplicity.
No matter what you think of it, these days there is no denying that a celebrity culture has a significant effect on the architecture world, with a small percentage of architects taking a large portion of the spotlight. Questioning this status quo, Vladimir Belogolovsky's new book "Conversations with Architects in the Age of Celebrity" interrogates some of these famous architects to find out what they think of the culture which has elevated them to such heights. In this excerpt from the book's foreword, Belogolovsky asks how we got into this celebrity-loving architectural culture, and what it means for the buildings produced.
Not to be confused with other kinds of stars, the most popular of architects are identified as “starchitects.”* Is this a good thing? The notion of starchitecture is hated wholeheartedly by most of the leading architectural critics. They run away from addressing the issue because they think it has nothing to do with professional criticism. But what do the architects think? One of the architectural megastars, Rem Koolhaas, was astonishingly self-effacing in an interview for Hanno Rauterberg’s 2008 book Talking Architecture:
“I think what we are experiencing is the global triumph of eccentricity. Lots of extravagant buildings are being built, buildings that have no meaning, no functionality. It’s rather about spectacular shapes and, of course, the architects’ egos.”
In honor of International Museum Day we’ve collected twenty compelling museum projects. In this round up you’ll find a truly global selection; from Wang Shu's Ningbo Historic Museum in China and Tod Williams + Billie Tsien's Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia to Monoblock's Contemporary Art Museum in Buenos Aires, see all of our editors’ favorites after the break!
AMERICAnodelsud is an organization committed to social equality, promoting investigations and the development of new knowledge within the field of architecture. One of their main objectives is to raise funds to sponsor projects that will bridge the social exclusion gap.
Architects Alejandro Aravena (Santiago, Chile), Solano Benitez (Asuncion, Paraguay), Angelo Bucci (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Rafael Iglesia (Rosario, Argentina), José María Saez (Quito, Ecuador) and Ricardo Sargiotti (Córdoba, Argentina) held the first convention in 2013. Through the 'america[no] del sur' tour, which consisted of three conferences held in different cities in Argentina, they sought to raise the necessary funding.
On April 15th and 17th, Asunción, Paraguay will host the upcoming fundraiser, which Peter Zumthor and Paulo Mendes da Rocha have already agreed to attend in order to support the cause. Without a doubt, the presence of these two internationally-renowned architects will greatly help raise the funds needed by AMERICAnodelsud to follow through with their commitment.
Read AMERICAnodelsud's charter for this year's edition, written by Solano Benitez, below.
This video by architecture photographer, Pedro Kok, takes us behind the scenes of the construction of the Cais das Artes (Quay of Arts) building in Brazil. Located in the southeastern coastal city of Vitória, the building was designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha in collaboration with METRO Arquitetos.
The video was produced for La Triennale di Milano’s exhibition, “Paulo Mendes da Rocha – Technique and Imagination," and captures - through impeccable shots - the work that went into constructing the enormous cultural complex.
Keep an eye out, or you might miss the Museu Brasileiro de Escultura (a.k.a. MuBE, pronounced MOO-bee). Widely considered the masterpiece of Pritzker Prize-winner Paulo Mendes da Rocha, the building was in fact born out of the desire to have no building at all. When in the 1980s an empty lot in Sao Paulo's mansion-laden Jardins district was slated to become a shopping mall, wealthy residents successfully lobbied to create a public square instead. To sweeten the deal and ensure the land stayed commercial-free, they hired Mendes de Rocha to create MuBE. Completed in 1995, the 7000-sq-meter museum hunkers down beneath ground level, thus preserving what in Sao Paulo is that rarest of luxuries: a public green space.
Inspired by Pritzker Prize laureate Paulo Mendes da Rocha’s call “to get architecture out of the making and thinking of isolated objects and to show it as an inexorable transformation of nature”, Dublin practice Grafton Architects presents Architecture as New Geography at the 2012 Venice Biennale. The exhibition explores the work of the Brazilian architect in the context of Grafton’s first South American project for a university in Lima, Peru.
The International Jury has awarded Grafton the Silver Lion for their “impressive” presentation’s ability to connect to the ideas of Paulo Mendes da Rocha and demonstrate the “considerable potential of this architectural practice in reimagining the urban landscape”.