Paulo Mendes da Rocha, A Portfolio of Selected Works

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1957: Paulistano Office Chair

Paulistano office chair designed by architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect Paulistano office chair designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, 2006 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. Press photo © Paulo Mendes da Rocha

Photos, Drawings, and Renderings

This photo gallery expresses some of the work by Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Known for his  innovative use of concrete and steel, the Pritzker-prize winning architect expresses a bold simplicity, using simple shapes and minimal resources, to create a social responsible architecture. Paulo Mendes da Rocha often called a "Brazilian Brutalist" because his buildings are constructed of prefabricated and mass-produced concrete components.

Background:

Born: October 25, 1928 in Vitoria, Brazil

Childhood: Paulo Mendes da Rocha spent his childhood in Vitoria, the harbor capital of the state of Espírito Santo in Brazil and on the Island Paquetá, in the middle of Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro. His mother was the daughter of Italian immigrants. His father was a engineer who became Chair of the Naval and Harbor Resources of the Polytechnic School of São Paulo University.

Education: Mackenzie Architecture School, 1954

Important Works:

Related People:

Quote:

In his statement to the Pritzker Prize Committee, Paulo Mendes da Rocha says that architecture is “…the transformation of nature, a total fusion of science, art and technology in a sublime statement of human dignity and intelligence through the settlements we build for ourselves…”

Family Life:

Mendes da Rocha married his first wife in 1954. They have two daughters, Renata and Joana, and three sons, Paulo, Guilherme, and Pedro. Guilherme and Pedro are both architects; son Paulo is a photographer. From his second marriage Mendes da Rocha has another daughter, Nadezhda, who is a designer.

More About Paulo Mendes da Rocha:

During the 1950s, Paulo Mendes da Rocha joined an avant-garde movement in São Paulo, Brazil. His work, known as Paulist brutalist architecture, used simple shapes and materials. Importance was placed on people and society rather than ornamentation.

Over the next six decades, Paulo Mendes da Rocha became known for "socially responsible" designs that used minimum resources. He taught for many years at the University of São Paulo but was forced to leave his teaching post in 1969 when Brazil was under military dictatorship. Mendes da Rocha returned to teaching in 1980 and continued until his retirement in 1999. Mendes da Rocha has also lectured throughout South America and Europe and served as president of the Brazilian Institute for Architects.

Besides his architectural projects, Mendes da Rocha has designed furniture. He is best known for the Paulistano chair and chaise lounge which used industrial materials to create comfortable, functional seating.

In 2000 the Mies van der Rohe Prize for Latin American Architecture brought Paulo Mendes da Rocha international recognition. He won the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2006.

Sources: Pritzker Architecture Prize Announcement

Pritzker-prize winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha is known for bold simplicity and an innovative use of concrete and steel.

Architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha used modern industrial materials to create furniture that was functional and comfortable. He developed three versions of his popular Paulistano design: a stationary chair, an office chair (shown here), and a chaise lounge.

~Pritzker Prize Committee

02
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1958: The Paulistano Athletic Club in São Paulo, Brazil

The Paulistano Athletic Club in São Paulo, Brazil, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect The Paulistano Athletic Club in São Paulo, Brazil, designed by Brazilian Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Press photo © José Moscardi

Pritzker-prize winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha is known for bold simplicity and an innovative use of concrete and steel.

The Paulistano Athletic Club is a sports arena made of reinforced concrete. The metal roof is suspended from steel cables. The arena sits in the center of a rectangular esplanade with banquet rooms and a garden. The Paulistano Athletic Club is large enough for 2,000 spectators.

~Pritzker Prize Committee

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1960: Paulo Mendes da Rocha Residence in São Paulo, Brazil

The Paulo Mendes da Rocha Residence by Paulo Mendes da Rocha
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect The Paulo Mendes da Rocha Residence in São Paulo, Brazil by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, 2006 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. Press photo © Annette Spiro

Pritzker-prize winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha is known for bold simplicity and an innovative use of concrete and steel.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha used prefabricated and mass-produced reinforced concrete components when he designed his own home in São Paulo. The one-story house rests on pillars and nestles into a small hill.

Mendes da Rocha designed another, almost identical, house at the same time.

~Pritzker Prize Committee

04
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1964: Guaimbê Residential Building in São Paulo, Brazil

Guaimbê Residential Building in São Paulo, Brazil by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect The Guaimbê Residential Building in São Paulo, Brazil, designed by Brazilian Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate for 2006. Press photo © José Moscardi

Pritzker-prize winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha is known for bold simplicity and an innovative use of concrete and steel.

Architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha designed the Guaimbê apartment building as a long narrow plate. Reinforced concrete walls support the 23-foot span. Mendes da Rocha also created a special screen to protect the surface receiving the most sunlight. The openings on the west facade, with their parallel concrete slats, unify the space and the rhythm of the interior.

~Pritzker Prize Committee

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1987: The Forma Store in São Paulo, Brazil

The Forma Store in São Paulo, Brazil,Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect The Forma Store in São Paulo, Brazil, designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, 2006 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. Press photo © Nelson Kon

Pritzker-prize winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha is known for bold simplicity and an innovative use of concrete and steel.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha designed the Forma Store in São Paulo, Brazil to allow for maximum display space. The showcase window is elevated and spans the entire length of the building. Thus, the window becomes billboard, easily seen by passing traffic.

Inside the store, equipment and support services are placed at each end of opposing concrete walls. The center area is open for product displays.

The Forma store is elevated with 900 square yards of parking space located below. The main entrance is reached via a retractable staircase.

~Pritzker Prize Committee

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1987: Chapel of Saint Peter in Campos de Jordão, SP, Brazil

The Chapel of Saint Peter in Campos de Jordão, SP, Brazil, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect The Chapel of Saint Peter in Campos de Jordão, SP, Brazil designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha 2006 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. Press photo © Cristiano Mascaro

Pritzker-prize winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha is known for bold simplicity and an innovative use of concrete and steel.

The Chapel of Saint Peter in Campos de Jordão is located near the Boa Vista Palace, which was once a winter residence for the Governor of São Paulo. By constructing the chapel of concrete, glass, and stone, Mendes da Rocha creates the sense of strength and simplicity. Religious spaces flow around a single massive column at the center. A two-story glass façade looks out over a reflecting pool to the distant Mantiquera mountain peaks.

The irregular topography of the building site creates an optical illusion. From the esplanade facing the palace, the chapel appears to be a simple one-story structure.

~Pritzker Prize Committee

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1988: Brazilian Museum of Sculpture in São Paulo, Brazil

The Brazilian Museum of Sculpture in São Paulo, Brazil, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, architect
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect The Brazilian Museum of Sculpture in São Paulo, Brazil, designed by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, 2006 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. Press photo © Nelson Kon

Pritzker-prize winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha is known for bold simplicity and an innovative use of concrete and steel.

The Brazilian Museum of Sculpture sets on a 75,000-square foot triangular site on a main thoroughfare in São Paulo, Brazil. Instead of creating a free-standing building, architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha treated the museum and the landscape are treated as a whole.

Large concrete slabs create partly underground internal spaces and also form an exterior plaza with water pools and an esplanade. An emmense 97-foot long, 39-foot wide beam frames the museum.

~Pritzker Prize Committee

08
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1992: Patriarch Plaza and Viaduct do Cha in São Paulo, Brazil

The Patriarch Plaza and Viaduct do Cha in São Paulo, Brazil, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect The Patriarch Plaza and Viaduct do Cha in São Paulo, Brazil, by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, 2006 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. Press photo © Bebete Viegas

Pritzker-prize winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha is known for bold simplicity and an innovative use of concrete and steel.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha renovated and restructured the public space in the center of São Paulo, Brazil. Cars and buses were re-routed. Bus stops were moved to an 800-foot long overpass, Viaduct do Cha. The original paving was restored. A roof canopy suspended from an architrave was constructed over the plaza. The canopy frames views and also forms an inviting portal for pedestrians.

~Pritzker Prize Committee

09
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1993: State Museum of São Paulo in São Paulo, Brazil

State Museum of São Paulo in São Paulo, Brazil, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect Brazilian State Museum of São Paulo in São Paulo, Brazil, by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, 2006 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. Press photo © Nelson Kon

Pritzker-prize winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha is known for bold simplicity and an innovative use of concrete and steel.

Designed by architect Ramos de Azevedo in the late 1800s, the State Museum of São Paulo once housed the School of Arts and Crafts. When asked to renovate the classical, symmetrical building, Mendes da Rocha did not change the exterior. Instead, he focused on the interior rooms.

Mendes da Rocha worked on the organization of gallery spaces, created new spaces, and resolved problems with humidity. Glass roofs framed with metal were placed over the central and side courtyards. Frames were stripped from the internal window openings so that they would provide outside views. The central courtyard was turned into a slightly sunken auditorium to accommodate 40 people. Metal catwalks were installed through the courtyards to connect the galleries at the upper levels.

~Pritzker Prize Committee

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1995: Residence for Mario Masetti, Cava Estate, in Cabreuva, SP, Brazil

Residence for Mario Masetti - Cava Estate - Cabreuva, SP, Brazil, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect Residence for Mario Masetti, Cava Estate, in Cabreuva, SP, Brazil, by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, 2006 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. Press photo © Nelson Kon

Pritzker-prize winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha is known for bold simplicity and an innovative use of concrete and steel.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha calls this modest home a a multifaceted event in the landscape and a suite of little surprises. Located in Cabreuva, a small town northwest of São Paulo, the house is linear and symmetrical, while its pool is rounded and irregular. Inside the house, straight concrete walls are juxtaposed with a curved stone wall.

~Pritzker Prize Committee

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2000: Studies for the 2008 Olympic Games in Paris, France

Studies for the 2008 Olympic Games in Paris, France, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect Studies for Installations for the 2008 Olympic Games in Paris, France, by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, 2006 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. Press photo © Paulo Mendes da Rocha

Pritzker-prize winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha is known for bold simplicity and an innovative use of concrete and steel.

When Paris, France vied to host the 2008 Olympic Games, Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha was one of the 12 architects invited to contribute ideas for a vast sports complex. He designed a model Olympic village in collaboration with Alexandre Delijaicov, Anna Ferrari, Cecilia Scharlach, Eduardo Colonelli, Emilie Boudet, Fernando de Mello Franco, Jorge Zaven Kurkdjian, Marta Moreira, Martin Corullon, Milton Braga, Rostko Kovacevic, Roberto Klein, and Silvio Oksman.

The Olympic Committee chose Beijing for the 2008 Games, so this project was never constructed.

~Pritzker Prize Committee

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2004: Master plan for the Technological City, University of Vigo, Spain

Master plan for the Technological City, University of Vigo, Spain, Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect
Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect 2004: Master plan for the Technological City, University of Vigo, Spain, by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, 2006 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate. Press rendering © Paulo Mendes da Rocha

Pritzker-prize winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha is known for bold simplicity and an innovative use of concrete and steel.

Mendes da Rocha is developing a master plan for the Technological City, part of the University of Vigo in Spain. He is working to integrate new buildings designed by several different Spanish architects into an overall landscape scheme. The Technological City is designed to foster connections between various buildings: library, engineering departments, student residences, and administration offices.

~Pritzker Prize Committee