Of Le Corbusier's five points of modern architecture (the ribbon window, free design of the façade and ground plan, a roof garden, and pilotis), pilotis are perhaps the most used element in Brazilian modern architecture.
Today we celebrate the 90th anniversary of Paulo Mendes da Rocha. With a unique integrity in his thinking and design, his career has already been celebrated with the highest awards an architect can receive, from the Pritzker Prize in 2006 to the 2018 Golden Lion from the Venice Biennale and the Praemium Imperiale in 2016. Here, instead of presenting his impressive projects, we have asked architects to share some of their stories, talk about his practice and how his thinking has influenced them.
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.
6 Projects in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and USA Selected as Finalists for the 2018 Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize
Minutes ago in Detroit, Director Dirk Denison and 2018 MCHAP Jury Chair Ricky Burdett announced the six finalists of the 2018 edition of the Mies Crown Hall America Prize. Selected from a longer list of 31 projects announced earlier this summer in Venice, these outstanding works of architecture will compete for the top honor, the MCHAP Award, which will be announced in October. The authors of the winning award will take home $50,000 to fund research and a publication and will be recognized as the MCHAP Chair in IIT’s College of Architecture.
The six finalist buildings were completed between January 2016 and December 2017. The descriptive texts, provided by the MCHAP jury, celebrate the merits of each individual project.
Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo / Paulo Mendes da Rocha + Eduardo Colonelli + Weliton Ricoy Torres
LocationPraça da Luz, 2 - Bom Retiro, São Paulo - SP, 01120-010, Brazil
Original ProjectRamos de Azevedo
For some practitioners of architecture, the insatiable desire to draw everything, from the largest to the smallest to take full control of the project, echoes the famous phrase uttered by Mies Van Der Rohe: "God is in the details." Similarly, designing furniture provides another creative outlet for in-depth exploration of human-scale works of architecture.
Throughout the history of the Brazilian Architecture, and especially since the modernist movement, architects not only became known for their building designs, but also for their detailed chairs and tables. Several of these pieces of furniture were initially designed for a specific project and then went into mass production due to their popularity.
The Pritzker Prize is the most important award in the field of architecture, awarded to a living architect whose built work "has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity through the art of architecture." The Prize rewards individuals, not entire offices, as took place in 2000 (when the jury selected Rem Koolhaas instead of his firm OMA) or in 2016 (with Alejandro Aravena selected instead of Elemental); however, the prize can also be awarded to multiple individuals working together, as took place in 2001 (Herzog & de Meuron), 2010 (Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA), and 2017 (Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta of RCR Arquitectes).
The award is an initiative funded by Jay Pritzker through the Hyatt Foundation, an organization associated with the hotel company of the same name that Jay founded with his brother Donald in 1957. The award was first given in 1979, when the American architect Philip Johnson, was awarded for his iconic works such as the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.
The Pritzker Prize has been awarded for almost forty straight years without interruption, and there are now 18 countries with at least one winning architect. To date, half of the winners are European; while the Americas, Asia, and Oceania share the other twenty editions. So far, no African architect has been awarded, making it the only continent without a winner.
In celebration of Paulo Mendes da Rocha's 89th birthday, we take a look at "PMR 29': Twenty-Nine Minutes with Paulo Mendes da Rocha", directed by Carolina Gimenez, Catherine Otondo, João Sodré, José Paulo Gouvêa and Juliana Braga.
The film is conducted through a conversation with Rocha, held in his office in 2010. In presenting some of his main works, the architect makes considerations about the understanding of architecture in its human and essentially cultural dimension.
Designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha in partnership with MMBB office, the project intervenes an old department store, transforming the interior spaces from the existing structure and creating a new central structure that supports a pool on the rooftop.
In all but the most optimistic architect's career, there will be moments you come across doubts and insecurities about our profession. It is in these moments where the wisdom of the greats who have come before us can help provoke the inspiration needed to face the challenges proposed by architecture and urbanism.
Needing an architectural pick-me-up? Check out some advice from Alejandro Aravena, Álvaro Siza, César Pelli, Francis Kére, Jeanne Gang, Norman Foster and Paulo Mendes da Rocha after the break.
Designing a museum is always an exciting architectural challenge. Museums often come with their own unique needs and constraints--from the art museum that needs specialist spaces for preserving works, to the huge collection that requires extensive archive space, and even the respected institution whose existing heritage building presents a challenge for any new extension. In honor of International Museum Day, we’ve selected 23 stand-out museums from our database, with each ArchDaily editor explaining what makes these buildings some of the best examples of museum architecture out there.
Update: Paulo Mendes da Rocha was today awarded the RIBA Royal Gold Medal at a ceremony at the RIBA headquarters in London. The article below was originally published when the award was announced on September 29, 2016.
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has awarded its 2017 Royal Gold Medal to Paulo Mendes da Rocha. The 87-year-old is among Brazil's most celebrated architects, known for his special brand of Brazilian Brutalism which has had a dramatic effect in his home country, particularly in the city of São Paulo. The award continues a spectacularly successful year for Mendes da Rocha, who won the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale in May, and was announced the 2016 Premium Imperiale Laureate just weeks ago. Mendes da Rocha has also previously received the Pritzker Prize in 2006 and the Mies van der Rohe Prize for his Pinacoteca de São Paulo project in 2000.
Mendes da Rocha becomes the second Brazilian to win the RIBA's Gold Medal, after Oscar Niemeyer received the award in 1998. He joins other luminaries such as Zaha Hadid (2016), Frank Gehry (2000), Norman Foster (1983), and Frank Lloyd Wright (1941).
Filming architecture comes to Lisbon, Portugal! This is an academic itinerant workshop about architecture representation and narratives through cinematography, and will be part of the closing activities of the 2016 Lisbon Architecture Triennale. As the final product, students will produce a short movie filmed at a Museu dos Coches, a paradigmatic building designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha and Ricardo Bak Gordon.
- Do you know who I'm presenting the conference with this afternoon?
- Of course I do. Paulo, one of the best architects in Brazil.
- For me, the best worldwide.
I heard by chance this conversation between Eduardo Souto de Moura, 2011 Pritzker Prize, and Joanna Helm, our Content Director from ArchDaily Brazil, in the gardens of Ibirapuera Park, as I waited to enter the auditorium for the activities of X Ibero-American Architecture and Urbanism Biennial (X BIAU). In that same afternoon, a small crowd occupied all the seats to watch and hear Souto de Moura and Paulo Mendes da Rocha sharing the stage.
Adding to their collection of pre-fabricated houses by top designers and architects, Robbie Antonio’s “Revolution Pre-Crafted” has released 3 new designs by Paulo Mendes Da Rocha + Metro, Massimiliano & Doriana Fuksas, and Philip Johnson Alan Ritchie Architects.
The three designs follow Revolution Pre-Crafted’s goal of democratizing the design of pre-fab structures, as they offer a line of products that incorporate the distinct spatial and social brands of master designers. The new houses join options from architects including Zaha Hadid, Sou Fujimoto, Daniel Libeskind and Gluckman Tang.
Paulo Mendes da Rocha is one of Brazil's most celebrated architects. And, in spite of the fact that very little of his work can be found outside São Paulo, his “Paulista Brutalism” is revered worldwide, earning him the Pritzker Prize in 2006 and, just last week, the Royal Institute of British Architects' Gold Medal. In light of the RIBA Gold Medal news, as part of his “City of Ideas” column, Vladimir Belogolovsky here shares an interview conducted with Mendes da Rocha in 2014. The interview was conducted in Mendes da Rocha's office in São Paulo with the help of Brazilian architect Wilson Barbosa Neto acting as translator, and was originally published in Belogolovsky's book, “Conversations with Architects in the Age of Celebrity.”
Vladimir Belogolovsky: In your short text "The Americas, Architecture and Nature," you say that “for Brazilians and Americans in general, the historical experience begins with the modern world. There is a difference between rebuilding old cities in Europe and building new cities in the Americas.” Could you elaborate this thought?
Paulo Mendes da Rocha: Of course, there is a difference in attitude when one builds in such a new place as Brazil or the American continent in general as opposed to Europe. The landscapes are different, cities are different, cultures are different. How can you compare St. Petersburg in Russia and Vitória, my hometown, in Brazil?
The Japan Art Association (JAA) has named Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha as the winner of the 2016 Praemium Imperiale International Arts Award. Often credited as a founder of the Brutalist movement in São Paulo, 2006 Pritzker Prize Winner Mendes da Rocha was praised by the jury for his commitment to honoring “locality, history and landscape” in his projects and his ability to utilize “simple materials like concrete and steel to structure space to maximum effect.”
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."