Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha donated his entire collection to Casa da Arquitectura - Portuguese Centre for Architecture based in Matosinhos, which is dedicated to preserving and sharing architectural documents. Considered to be the world's most renowned living Brazilian architect, he signed the contract with the institution last year in December, one month after being invited to donate the material.
The arrival of the entire Paulo Mendes da Rocha collection follows the donation of the National Coach Museum project in 2015, and of a set of seven projects for the Brazilian Architecture Collection in 2018. The material which now arrives at Casa da Arquitectura will be received by more than 30 employees dedicated to inventorying and organizing the thousands of items produced during his long professional life from the 1950s to the present day.
This incorporation encompasses nearly 8.800 items, relating to more than 320 projects and comprises approximately 6.300 analog drawings, 3.000 photographs and slides, 300 publications, and a set of models made by the architect himself.
Mendes da Rocha's relationship with Casa da Arquitectura is no surprise. In 2018, during the inauguration of the Exhibition "Infinito Vão - 90 Years of Brazilian Architecture", he also opened the "Two Houses by Paulo Mendes da Rocha" exhibition, about the houses Gerassi and Quellhas, designed by the architect in São Paulo and Lisbon, respectively. Paulo Mendes was also the first honorary associate member of Casa da Arquitectura, later accompanied by another Pritzker winner, the Portuguese Eduardo Souto de Moura.
The Casa da Arquitectura's interest in Brazil also goes back a few years. The 2018 exhibition was the largest ever on Brazilian architecture and relied on the donation of over 55 thousand items related to the works of many important professionals from across the Atlantic. Moreover, since the inauguration of its new headquarters in Matosinhos, the institution has been organizing a series of events with Brazilian guests from the fields of architecture and arts.
Nuno Sampaio, executive director of Casa da Arquitectura, highlights the institution's commitment to the treatment and conservation of the donated collections, ensured by means of adequate space and state-of-the-art equipment – all the material that the institution hosts is kept in the best facilities, with the newest technology and rigorously controlled humidity, temperature and light.
Furthermore, Sampaio stresses the institution's efforts in disseminating these documents, either through exhibitions and events or through the online platform Edifício Digital, which will be launched later this year, providing the entire collection accessible to the public free of charge.