Rio de Janeiro will be the World Capital of Architecture in 2020. From July 19th to 26th, the city will host the 7th World Congress of Architects – UIA 2020. It will be a huge opportunity for reflections about the future of architecture, urbanism and landscaping with professionals from the whole world. 

In Brazil, there is one particular reason to be proud. The architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha will be the president of Congress Honor Committee. 

Born in the State of Espírito Santo, just like our company Vitoria Stone, he is considered the greatest Brazilian architect in activity today. We believe the Congress coming soon is a good opportunity to us talk about his life and his work. 

Paulo Mendes da Rocha was born in 1928 and in 2006 got the Pritzker Prize, considered the Nobel Prize in architecture. Before him, the only Brazilian to get this honor was Oscar Niemeyer, in 1988. 

In the prize judge’s opinion, his work modifies the landscape and space, getting the social and esthetic needs of man. For the jury, Paulo Mendes da Rocha produces works that reveals a permanent search for harmony between architecture and nature. 

Worried about communities

A great sense of responsibility with communities also marks his achievements on the most varied fronts. He designed individual residences, apartment buildings, chapels, sports stadiums, playgrounds, art museums and public squares. 

“I think that the fundamental matter of architecture is to solve problems. So if you need to say an indispensable feature to quality architecture, if it had to say only one quality, I think it should be ‘opportune’”, he says.

The close link between engineering and nature marks projects such as Cidade do Tietê (1981) and the proposals for the redevelopment of Vitória Bay (1993) and Montevideo Bay (1998). In these projects, interventions dialogue with landscape possibilities. For Paulo Mendes da Rocha, the first and most important architecture is geography.

Among his best known projects is the MuBE – Brazilian Sculpture Museum (1988), the renovation of the Pinacoteca of the State of São Paulo (1993) and the Official Pavilion of Brazil at Expo 70, in Osaka, Japan. He was among the finalists awarded in the contest for the Georges Pompidou Cultural Center preliminary project in Paris (1971). 

For the Italian critic Francesco Dal Co, Paulo Mendes da Rocha’s production is characterized by the unique combination of safe rationality, the essentiality of constructive solutions, intransigence in the use of materials and contempt for the superfluous.


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