Brutalism’s Benevolent Father

( January 1st, 2008 )

Mendes da Rocha

After posting about Oscar Niemeyer and his 100th birthday I felt compelled to discuss another great Brazilian modernist architect, . He was awarded the in 2006, the second Brazilian architect to win the Pritzker after Oscar Niemeyer in 1988. In 2000 he was awarded the for Latin American Architecture, also a tremendous honor. At 79 years old, Mendes da Rocha’s career now spans six decades since beginning his own practice in 1957. Considered one of the father’s of “Brazilian Brutalism” and part of Brazil’s avant-garde design movement, his work is signified by a simplicity of materials and forms. Brutalism for Mendes da Rocha was not about adherence to a style, though, and is instead about being guided by resolute design principles:

“Architecture is a human endeavor inspired by the nature all around us. We must transform nature; fuse science, art and technology into a sublime statement of human dignity.”

Paulo Mendes da Rocha

He is widely considered the most outstanding architect of Brazil and has steadfastly devoted his career to the creation of buildings and spaces guided by a sense of responsibility to those who inhabit then. His work also shows a responsibility to society, and a focus on honoring the context in which his architecture exists. Some of Mendes da Rocha’s :

Rocha House

His residence in Sao Paulo. Mendes da Rocha has lived here since its completion in 1960.

Chapel of St. Peter, Campos de Jordao, Brazil

The Chapel of St. Peter, Campos de Jordao, Brazil completed in 1987.

Brazilian museum of sculpture

The Brazilian Museum of sculpture, noted for its unification of the museum with the landscape.

daRocha lounging in a Paulistano chair

The architect reclining in a chair of his design, the “Paulistano”, created for the Paulistano Athletic Club in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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