Paulo Mendes da Rocha Passes Away at 92

Paulo Mendes one of the most important names in Brazilian and worldwide architecture, Paulo Mendes da Rochagave up the ghost at the age of 92. As his son Pedro Mendes da Rocha reported to ArchDaily, the architect was hospitalized in Sao Paulo thanks to carcinoma and gave up the ghost at dawn on Sunday, May 23, 2021.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha are going to be remembered for the good formative role he had. His architectural creation debated life in particular , raising questions and challenging ready ideas and conformity. He consolidated an influence in need of language or aesthetics, formed mainly by the way of acting and thinking, during which each project was a chance for transformation. His ideas and styles overflowed the bounds of the program, place and materiality, always bringing a replacement point of view to realize revolutionary simplicity.

Born in Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brazil in 1928, he moved to Sao Paulo as a young man, where he graduated from FAU-Mackenzie in 1954. during a few years of operation, he managed to consolidate a body of works, especially residential ones, of great quality, where concrete materiality prevails. His career has always been linked to the teaching of architecture. He was a professor of design at FAU-USP from 1961 to 1999.

A referent in modern and contemporary architecture during his studies at Mackenzie University in Sao Paulo , Paulo Mendes formed, along side other colleagues, a gaggle curious about modern architecture, which ended up influencing his first major project, years later: the Ginásio do Clube Atlético Paulistano (Paulistano Athletic Club Gymnasium).

Between 1961 and 1969, he was a professor at the school of Architecture and Urbanism at USP, being impeached by the military dictatorship in Brazil due to his stance on the social role that architects should have. Interestingly, that very same year, Paulo Mendes da Rocha won the competition for the Brazilian Pavilion at Expo’70 in Osakaduring a team alongside Jorge Caron, Júlio Katinsky, and Ruy Ohtake. In 1980 he returned as a professor of Architectural Design at an equivalent Faculty, where he remained until 1999, the year he retired.

In 2001, he received the II Mies van der Rohe Award for Latin American architecture for his project at the Pinacoteca de Sao Paulo a crucial neoclassical building intervention. In 2006 he received the Pritzker Prize for the trajectory of his work. Ten years later, in 2016, he’s recognized with two more awards at the very best level of world architecture: the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale and therefore the Praemium Imperiale Award. In 2017 he was awarded the RIBA trophy . And in 2021 he was awarded the trophy of the International Union of Architects.

Today, the gathering from the architect, about 8,800 elements associated with 320 projects, is hosted at the Casa da Arquitectura, a Portuguese institution based in Matosinhos that preserves and disseminates architectural documentation.

Projects Designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha
Paulistano Athletic Club Gymnasium (Ginásio do Clube Atlético Paulistano) / Paulo Mendes da Rocha + João De Gennaro (1961)

Guaimbê Building (Edifício Guaimbê) / Paulo Mendes da Rocha + João Eduardo de Gennaro (1962)

Butantã House (Casa no Butantã) / Paulo Mendes da Rocha + João de Gennaro (1964)

Brazilian Pavilion at Osaka ’70 / Paulo Mendes da Rocha and his team (1970)

São Pedro Chapel (Capela de São Pedro) / Paulo Mendes da Rocha (1987)

Brazilian Sculpture Museum (Museu Brasileiro de Escultura) (1988)

Gerassi House (Casa Gerassi) / Paulo Mendes da Rocha (1991)

Pinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo (1998)

Sesc 24 de Maio (2017)

Museu dos Coches (2015)

New Leme Gallery (2012)

Image gallery


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