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Architectural achievement

Brazilian modernist Paulo Mendes da Rocha bags the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

india Updated: Apr 22, 2006 13:57 IST

Brazilian modernist Paulo Mendes da Rocha has been awarded architecture's top honour, the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

The 77-year old architect becomes the second laureate from Brazil. Trailblazing modernist Oscar Niemeyer was the first Brazilian laurate in 1988.

"Mendes da Rocha has shown a deep understanding of space and scale through the great variety of buildings he has designed, from private residences, housing complexes, a church, museums and sports stadia to urban plans for public space, said Thomas Pritzker, president of The Hyatt Foundation which finances the prize, said of the jury's choice.

"While few of his buildings were realised outside Brazil, the lessons to be learned from his work, both as a practicing architect and a teacher, are universal,"

The award ceremony will be held on May 30 in Istanbul, when Mendes da Rocha will be bestowed with a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion.

Mendes da Rocha began his career in the 1950s.

He was also responsible for renovating Sao Paulo's main fine arts museum, the Pinacotec do Estado, and also turned the city's Patriarch Square by adding a steel canopy that has turned it into a landmark.

Internationally, Mendes da Rocha was a finalist in the competition for the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 1972, and designed Brazils Pavilion at Expo 70 in Osaka, Japan in 1970. Now, in Galicia in northwestern Spain, he is developing a master plan for the Technological City, part of the University of Vigo.