Paulo Mendes da Rocha Named 2017 Royal Gold Medal Recipient

John Hill
29. September 2016
Paulo Mendes da Rocha in Venice in May (Photo: John Hill/World-Architects)

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced that Paulo Mendes da Rocha, "Brazil’s most celebrated living architect," will receive the 2017 Royal Gold Medal.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha joins Oscar Niemeyer as the only Brazilian architects to win the Royal Gold Medal, as well as the Pritzker Architecture Prize, which he won in 2006, and the Praemium Imperiale, which he was named winner of earlier this month. Mendes da Rocha was also honored with the Mies van der Rohe Prize in 2000 and the Venice Biennale Golden Lion earlier this year. With the 2017 Royal Gold Medal, given by RIBA in recognition of a lifetime's work, Mendes da Rocha joins Zaha Hadid (2016), Peter Zumthor (2013), and a long list of architects going back to 1848, when the first medal was given.

RIBA's announcement mentions Mendes da Rocha's numerous cultural and public buildings in Brazil, such as the Brazilian Sculpture Museum MuBE, the Pinacoteca do Estado gallery, and the Cais das Artes arts center in Vitória. Yet they assert that, "Despite Mendes da Rocha’s international reputation, there have been just a few chances to experience his work outside his home country." One exception is Portugal’s National Coach Museum in Lisbon, which opened last year.

Upon being named the 2017 Royal Gold Medal recipient, 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.

The Royal Gold Medal will be presented to Paulo Mendes da Rocha in early 2017.

National Coach Museum, Lisbon, with MMBB (Photo: Fernando Guerra | FG+SG)

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