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Rafael Moneo


One of the most well-known Spanish architects and most significant figures in world architecture, José Rafael Moneo (1937) graduated from Madrid university in 1961. After a two-year apprenticeship with Danish architect John Utzon’s practice (1961-1963) and pivotal fellowship to study in Rome, he returned to the Spanish capital where he opened his own design studio in 1966.

He began teaching firstly in Madrid and Barcelona simultaneously, then internationally in Lausanne, New York, London and Venice. From 1985 he lectured at the Graduate School of Architecture, Harvard University, where he also was also Dean.
Both construction and theory are integral to Moneo’s work, since the one influences, substantiates and fuels the other.

His theoretical work, not only in the academic field, also includes articles in numerous magazines, including Arquitecturas bis, of which he is one of the founders, Nueva Forma and Oppositions.
In addition to rejecting pre-established styles, in his work he primarily makes use of a wide range of compositional devices appropriate for all kinds of situations” (Oliveras). As Moneo himself confirms,“we think it is essential to accept the peculiarities and individuality of every project”, 1981.

Moneo approaches every architecture project searching for clear and coherent solutions, which create a mutual dialog with the existing surroundings, while mostly remaining faithful to twentieth century modernism, resulting in individual character".
“His designs are an accurate, evocative reflection on spaces for public use which, while harnessing advanced technology, recall the characteristic features of Hispanic-Islamic architecture." (Treccani) His acclaimed projects from the Seventies and Eighties, particularly in public spaces, adapt to and complement the adjacent urban surroundings.

This “mutual dialog with the existing setting” is seen in the eclecticism of Bankinter,“a key Spanish architecture project from the Seventies”, the majestic and evocative Museum of Roman Art in Merida (1985) and modern Banco di España in Jaen (1988, no longer in use).
In the following decades, Moneo continued to develop "the urban dimension of the project, together with build quality and the historical side of architecture. The Manzana Diagonal building (with M. de Solá-Morales) in Barcelona (1993) is considered a manifesto of these concepts, linking architecture with the city ".

Other significant projects include extensions to Logroño Town Hall (1981) and Banco di Spagna di Madrid (2006), expansion of Atocha railway station, Madrid (1989), renovation of Villahermosa (1989-91), Previsión Española Insurance Institute (1987) and new airport (1992), both in Seville, interdisciplinary research building at Columbia University, New York (2010), Puig Tower, Barcelona (2014) and Navarra University Museum in Pamplona (2014).
Significant projects also include religious buildings such as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels in Los Angeles (2002), which is "discreetly majestic to underline the sacredness of the building", and Iglesia de Iesu in San Sebastian (2009) with its irregular cross on the roof bathed in white light.

He is the author of several books, including: The solitude of buildings (Cambridge, 1986). Rafael Moneo was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1996 (the first Spaniard to win this prestigious award) “(...) [Each of his projects] is unique yet at the same time, uniquely recognizable as being from his drawing board (...) Moneo not only practices architecture in the most real sense of designing buildings, taking into account all aspects of their construction, but he also teaches his theories utilizing all his experience and knowledge, in effect sustaining these parallel efforts by enriching each with the other".

His numerous international awards include the RIBA Royal Gold Medal (2003), Gold Medal for Architecture (2006), Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts (2012), Praemium Imperiale (2017) and the Spanish National Architecture Prize (2015) (previously won in 1961 with Fernando Higueras for the Museum of Artistic Restoration, Madrid).
Rafael Moneo selected works and projects
- Museo dell'Università di Navarra, Pamplona (Spagna), 2014
- Dipartimento di Neuroscienza e Psicologia - Università di Princeton (USA), 2014
- Torre Puig (con GCA Architects + Lucho Marcial), Barcellona (Spagna), 2014
- Hotel Mercer (con Lucho Marcial), Barcellona (Spagna), 2012
- Laboratori per l'Università della Columbia, New York (USA), 2010
- Toledo Connvention Centre, Toledo (Spagna), 2010
- Complesso polifunzionale Aragonia, Saragozza (Spagna), 2010
- Biblioteca Università di Deusto, Bilbao (Spagna), 2009
- Iglesia de Iesu - Nuova parrocchia di Riberas de Loyola, San Sebastian (Spagna), 2009
- Laboratori di Scienze Integrate e Ingegneria - Università di Harvard, Cambridge (USA), 2008
- Museo del teatro romano, Cartagena (Spagna), 2008
- Chase Center - Rhode Island School of Design, Providence (USA), 2008
- Ampliamento del Museo del Prado, Madrid (Spagna), 2007
- Beulas Foundation, Huesca (Spagna), 2005
- Biblioteca Arenberg - Katholieke Universiteit, Lovanio (Belgio), 2002
- Cattedrale di Nostra Signora degli Angeli, Los Angeles (USA), 2002
- Museo di Belle Arti, Houston (USA), 2000
- Municipio di Murcia (Spagna), 1998
- Auditorium, Barcellona (Spagna), 1999
- Museo di Arte Moderna e di Architettura, Stoccolma (Svezia), 1999
- Centro Congressi Kursaal, San Sebastian (Spagna), 1999
- Casa della Cultura di Don Benito, Badajoz (Spagna), 1997
- Ampliamento della stazione ferroviaria di Atocha, Madrid (Spagna), 1992
- Nuovo terminal aeroportuale, Siviglia (Spagna), 1991
- Banco de España, Jaén (Spagna), 1988
- Edificio della Previdenza Spagnola, Siviglia (Spagna), 1988
- Museo d’Arte Romana, Merida (Spagna), 1985
- Ampliamento dell’edificio comunale, Logroño (Spagna), 1981
- Edificio Bankinter, Madrid (Spagna), 1977
- Edificio Uremea, San Sebastian (Spagna), 1968
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