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Paulo Mendes da Rocha
Paulo Mendes da Rocha
[Paulo Archias Mendes da Rocha]
* Vitória, Brazil [Brasil], 25 October 1928
+ São Paulo, Brazil [Brasil], 23 May 2021
nationality: brazilian
Paulo Mendes da Rocha was born in October 1928 in the city of Vitória, the harbor capital of Espírito Santo, son of the naval engineer Paulo Menezes Mendes da Rocha and Angelina Derenzi, daughter of an Italian family that had emigrated to Brazil. When his father assumed the coordination of the Naval and Harbor discipline at the Polytechnic School of the São Paulo University (USP) in 1940, the family moved to São Paulo. Paulo Mendes da Rocha graduated from the Mackenzie University Architecture School in 1954 and built a career planning houses, schools, apartment buildings, museums, several urban projects, stations and sport equipment, furniture and theatre sets.

Soon after his graduation, in 1957 he won a national competition for the construction of a gymnasium – the Clube Atlético Paulistano. This work brought him public recognition and won the principal award at the 6th Bienal of São Paulo, in 1961 – Grande Prêmio Presidência da República. In 1968, he won the national project competition for the Brazilian Pavilion at Osaka Expo 70 and travelled to follow the development of the construction in 1969.

Among several international honors, he has been awarded with the Mies Van der Rohe Foundation Prize for his Pinacoteca de São Paulo project. He was selected in 2000 to represent Brazil at the 7th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. He received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2006.

In Brazil, he was twice honored with the Ordem do Mérito Cultural, in 2004 and 2013. He also received twice the trophy from APCA “Associação Paulista de Críticos de Arte”, in 2012 and 2015.

In 2016, he was awarded with the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at Venice Architecture Biennale and with the Imperiale Praemium in honour of Prince Takamatsu in the category of architecture in Japan.

He joined the academic world in the sixties when invited to teach at the School of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo. He taught at the University of São Paulo from 1960 to 1969 and from 1980 till 1998; in 2010 he received the title of Professor Emeritus. He was President of the Brazilian Institute of Architects, São Paulo in 1972/1973 and 1986/1987.

Besides his architectural and urban projects, he has designed furniture: one example is the chair ‘Paulistano’, published in the magazine New Furniture, Neue Möbel, Meubles Nouveaux, Verlag Gerd Hatje, Stuttgart, 1958.

He has accepted several invitations from international universities:
  • 2001 Professor ad Honorem of the Facultad de Arquitectura, Universidad de la República del Uruguay
  • 2007 Doctor Honoris Causa, Universidade Presbeteriana Mackenzie, São Paulo
  • 2009 Doctor Honoris Causa, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Santa Fe, Argentina
  • 2010 Professor Emeritus, Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo da Universidade de São Paulo, USP
  • 2011 Doctor Honoris Causa, University of Architecture and Urbanism "Ion Mincu", Bucharest, Romania
  • 2012 Doctor Honoris Causa for distinction in the arts, science, culture, human rights, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina
  • 2015 Doctor Honoris Causa, University of Lisbon.
Royal Gold Medal  [ » read more ]
RIBA - Royal Institute of British Architects

RIBA President and chair of the selection committee Jane Duncan said:
“Paulo Mendes da Rocha’s work is highly unusual in comparison to the majority of the world’s most celebrated architects. He is an architect with an incredible international reputation, yet almost all his masterpieces are built exclusively in his home country. Revolutionary and transformative, Mendes da Rocha’s work typifies the architecture of 1950s Brazil – raw, and beautifully crafted concrete.
Paulo Mendes da Rocha is a world-class architect and a true living legend; I am very pleased to present him with the Royal Gold Medal, the world’s highest honour for architecture.”

Paulo Mendes da Rocha said:
“After so many years of work, it is a great joy to receive this recognition from the Royal Institute of British Architects for the contribution my lifetime of work and experiments have given to the progress of architecture and society. I would like to send my warmest wishes to all those who share my passion, in particular British architects, and share this moment with all the architects and engineers that have collaborated on my projects.”
Leone d'Oro alla Carriera
XV Mostra Internazionale d'Architettura di Venezia
Praemium Imperiale

Japan Art Association
Pritzker Architecture Prize
2008 - 2015
Museu Nacional dos Coches
Portugal » Lisbon [Lisboa]
1992 - 2002
Praça do Patriarca
Brazil [Brasil] » São Paulo
1996 - 1998
Centro Cultural FIESP
Brazil [Brasil] » São Paulo
1993 - 1998
Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo
Brazil [Brasil] » São Paulo
1986 - 1995
MuBE - Museu Brasileiro da Escultura
Brazil [Brasil] » São Paulo
1987 - 1989
Capela de São Pedro
Brazil [Brasil] » Campos do Jordão
1962 - 1975
Brazil [Brasil] » Goiânia
1973 - 1975
Brazil [Brasil] » Goiânia
1970 - 1974
Brazil [Brasil] » São Paulo
1972 - 1974
Brazil [Brasil] » São Paulo
1957 - 1968
Brazil [Brasil] » Florianopolis
1962 - 1966
Edificio Guaimbê
Brazil [Brasil] » São Paulo
1957 - 1961
Ginásio do Clube Atlético Paulistano  |  Ginásio Antônio Prado Júnior
Brazil [Brasil] » São Paulo
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, "Cappella di São Pedro/São Pedro Chapel", Casabella 693, ottobre/october 2001, pp. 20-29
Paulo Mendes da Rocha "Perspectivas da arquitetura brasileira: recomendações pra sua adeguaçâo aos trópicos", AA.VV., Arquitetura nos Trópicos, Fundaçâo Joaquim Nabuco, Massangana, Racife 1985
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, 1958-2013, AV Monografías Monographs 161, 2013AV Monografías/Monographs 161, 2013 [Paulo Mendes da Rocha. 1958-2013]
Daniele Pisani, Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Tutte le Opere, Electa Mondadori, Milano, 2013
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Obra recente, Recent Work, 2GGuilherme Wisnik (ed.), 2G 45, I/2008 [Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Obra recente / Recent Work]
Guilherme Wisnik, "Architecture of the territory", in Guilherme Wisnik (ed.), 2G 45, I/2008 [Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Obra recente / Recent Work], pp. 4-17 (3-143)
"Biography", in Guilherme Wisnik (ed.), 2G 45, I/2008 [Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Obra recente / Recent Work], p. 132 (3-143)
Paulo Mendes da Rocha. 50 years, Rizzoli, New York 2007
review: Gonzalo Sotelo, "Mendes da Rocha, horizontes estructurales", Arquitectura Viva 116, septiembre-octubre/september-october 2007 [Ladrillo visto], "Arte/Cultura" p. 83
Rosa Artigas (ed.), Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Projectos 1999-2006, Cosac Naify, São Paulo 2007
review: Casabella 765, aprile/april 2008, "Biblioteca dell'architetto" p. 95
Federico De Ambrosis "Premio Pritzker al brutalismo paulista", Il giornale dell'architettura 40, maggio 2006, pp. 1, 8
Denise Chini Solot, Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Estrutura: o Êxito da Forma, Viana & Mosley, Brazil 2004
Hélio Piñon, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Romano Guerra Editora, São Paulo 2002

review: Casabella 708, febbraio/february 2003, p. 97
Annette Spiro, Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Bauten und Projekte, Verlag Niggli AG, Zürich 2002
Rosa Artigas (ed.), Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Cosac & Naify, São Paulo 2000
review: Casabella 693, ottobre/october 2001, "Libri e riviste" p. 82
Josep Maria Montaner, Maria Isabel Villac, Coletânea de obras do arquiteto Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Gili-Blau, Barcelona-Lisboa 1996
Josep Maria Montaner, Maria Isabel Villac, Mendes da Rocha. Introducciones / Introductions, Editorial Gustavo Gili, Barcelona, 1996
Flavio Motta, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Arte - Sociedad en reflexión, V Bienal de La Habana, Cuba 1994
Sophia Silva Telles (ed.), Inventário de obra publicada de Paulo Mendes da Rocha. 1989-1991, Pontificia Universidade Católica de Campinas, Campinas 1992
Guilherme Wisnik (ed.), 2G 45, I/2008 [Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Obra recente / Recent Work]
Guilherme Wisnik, "Interviews with Paulo Mendes da Rocha and his collaborators", in Guilherme Wisnik (ed.), 2G 45, I/2008 [Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Obra recente / Recent Work], pp. 133-143 (3-143)
Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Tecnica e immaginazione, Milano, Italy, Triennale, 6 may / 31 august 2014
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Bruxelles/Brussel, BOZAR, Centre for fine Arts, 12 october 2011 / 15 january 2012
Günter Richard Wett (ed., photo), Vilanova Artigas, Lina Bo Bardi, Paulo Mendes da Rocha
Innsbruck, 16 january/11 april 2009
Salzburg, Raum für Architektur im Künstlerhaus, 19 may/10 july 2009
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