The International Union of Architects (UIA) has announced the UIA Gold Medal and Prizes winners. The UIA Gold Medal is awarded to Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha, president of the 27th UIA World Congress of Architects — UIA2021RIO Honour Committee. The architect will also participate in a keynote speakers session programmed for July.
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, now 92 years old, has been honored with important awards, such as the Pritzker Prize in 2006, considered to be one of the world's premier architecture prizes, and the Venice Biennale Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, in 2016. Mendes da Rocha was the first Brazilian to be awarded this prize.
Some of his most notable projects are the Brazilian Sculpture Museum (1988), the renovation of the Pinacoteca of the State of São Paulo (1993), the Cultural Center of the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (1996), the Museum of Portuguese Language (2006), and the new facilities of the National Coach Museum in the Belém district of Lisbon.
The Jury appreciated Mendes da Rocha’s unique status as a daring iconoclast. The UIA press release states that "Paulo Mendes da Rocha's UIA Gold Medal exemplifies a lifetime of achievement spanning seven decades that emphasized architecture as a public act."
The work of Paulo Mendes da Rocha dialogues with the theme of the 27th edition of the World Congress of Architects – All Worlds. One World. Architecture 21 – which will be discussed in a keynote speakers session with Brazilian architect Carla Juaçaba and Portuguese Pritzker Prize winner Eduardo Souto de Moura.
The UIA also awarded the following five prizes:
The Robert Matthew Prize for Sustainable & Humane Environments – The Jury unanimously attributed the Prize to Burkinabé architect Diébedo Francis Kéré, who is a speaker at the UIA2021RIO.
The Jean Tschumi Prize for Architectural Writing – The Prize was attributed to Turkish architectural historian and conservation expert Doğan Kuban, who has produced more than 70 works bringing the grandeur and complexity of Turkish, Islamic, and Anatolian architecture to the world.
The Patrick Abercrombie Prize for Urban Planning and Design – The Jury chose to attribute the Prize to Spanish urban planner, architect, and professor Joan Busquets i Grau, in recognition of the significant social impact of his work on a global scale, citing especially his visionary urban regeneration project in the Old Center of his native Barcelona in the late 1980s, which continues to exercise an exceptional and enduring influence on urban planning, inspiring future generations of urban planners and designers.
The Vassilis Sgoutas Prize for Implemented Architecture Serving the Impoverished – The winners are David Kaunitz and Ka Wai Yeungan, an Australian married couple, for their profound commitment to innovative design and sustainable construction, implemented with local participation; South African architect Nadia Tromp, for her deep sense of social commitment grounded in pragmatic and simple design solutions, which foster human dignity and community engagement; and Chinese architect Jiansong Lu, whose pragmatic and elegant approach to modern architectural technology has improved the quality of life for members of China’s Huayao tribe, an ethnic minority living in the Xuefeng Mountains in Hunan Province, China.
The jury further attributed mentions to Indian architect Brinda Somaya’s architecture, conservation, and restoration, and the Polish team, Biuro Projektów Lewicki Łatak, which creates spaces that include people with physical handicaps.