paulo mendes da rocha

Paulo Mendes da Rocha is one of the most daring twentieth century architects and an international reference of the Brazilian contemporary architecture. Born in Brazil in 1928, Mendes da Rocha began his brilliant career in São Paulo in the 1950s. He led the foundations of the Paulista school and was a member of a group that included João Batista Vilanova Artigasand and Lina Bo Bardi together known as the “Brazilian brutalists”. On the contrary to the Rio’s Carioca school, typified by Oscar Niemeyer’s smooth, curvy white forms, they favoured chunkier massing and rougher concrete finishes. At the age of 30 he made his first mark with many more masterpieces to come, the Paulistano Athletic Club. On this occasion, in 1957 Mendes da Rocha designed the iconic Paulistano Armchair to be part of the living rooms of the Athletic Club of São Paulo. After more than 50 years of work, each of his buildings characterised by the immense power and grace are designed to meet social and aesthetic human needs. Among his widely known built works is the Museum of Contemporary Art (1975) at the University of São Paulo, the Forma Furniture showroom (1987) in São Paulo and the Brazilian Sculpture Museum (1987-1992). Recent projects include a master plan for Vigo University in Galicia, Spain, and the Boulevard des Sports in Paris, a complex intended to receive the 2008 Olympic Games. In recognition for his built works, Mendes da Rocha has been showered with the most prestigious awards, winning the Pritzker prize, the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale and Japan’s Praemium Imperiale award.