The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has announced Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha as winner of the 2017 Royal Gold Medal, in recognition of his lifetime’s work.
Mendes da Rocha completed his first celebrated building, the Athletic Club of São Paulo, in 1957. Calling his style “revolutionary and transformative,” RIBA president and chair of the selection committee Jane Duncan said, “Mendes da Rocha’s work typifies the architecture of 1950s Brazil – raw, chunky and beautifully ‘brutal’ concrete.”
The architect went on to create a significant number of public buildings, both in the city and in other parts of Brazil. Though few projects are located outside of his home country, he designed the Brazil pavilion at Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan, and the National Coach Museum in Lisbon in 2015.
“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,” said Mendes da Rocha, who turns 88 this month.
With this award, the architect joins the ranks of Zaha Hadid (2016) and Frank Gehry (2000), along with Oscar Niemeyer (1988)—the only other Brazilian to receive the honor.
The Royal Gold Medal will be presented to Paulo Mendes da Rocha in early 2017 in London.