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Rafael Moneo


One of Spain’s best-known architects, José Rafael Moneo (1937) graduated in Madrid in 1961: after an important stay in Rome on a scholarship, he returned to the Spanish capital, where he opened his own studio in 1966. 

At the same time he started teaching, first in Madrid and Barcelona and then at the international level (in Lausanne, New York, London and Venice, among other places): in 1985 he began teaching at the Graduate School of Architecture at Harvard University, where he also served as dean. 

Construction and theory are inseparable in Moneo’s work, as each influences, keeps a check on and is inspired by the other.

His theoretical work has appeared not only in the academic environment but in numerous magazines, ranging from Arquitecturas bis, of which he was one of the founders, to Nueva Forma and Oppositions.

In his work he rejects pre-constituted styles and focuses above all on use of “a vast range of compositional tools appropriate for all kinds of situations” (Oliveras), as confirmed by Moneo himself (“we consider it necessary to accept the peculiarities and singularities of every case”, 1981).

His famous projects, especially those for public spaces, are always adapted to and “relate” to the adjacent urban context. This “dialogue with the existing environment” may already be seen in the eclecticism of the Bankinter (“a key work in Spanish architecture of the seventies”), in the monumental and evocative Museum of Roman Art in Merida (1985), and in the modern Banco di España in Jaen (1988, no longer in use).

Other projects worth recalling include the expansion on Logroño town hall (1981) and on the Bank of Spain in Madrid (2006); the Spanish Social Security Institute in Seville (1987); the new Seville airport (1992); and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles (2002).

Volumes he has authored include The solitude of buildings (Cambridge, 1986). He is the only Spanish architect to be awarded a Pritzker Prize (1996).

Rafael Moneo famous works and projects

- Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels , Los Angeles (USA), 2002

- Fine Arts Museum, Houston (USA), 2000


- Murcia Town Hall (Spain), 1998


- Auditorium, Barcelona (Spain), 1999


- Museum of Modern Art and Architecture, Stockholm (Sweden), 1999


- Kursaal Congress Centre, San Sebastian (Spain), 1999
- Don Benito Cultural Centre, Badajoz (Spain), 1997
- Expansion of Atocha railway station, Madrid (Spain), 1992
- New airport terminal, Seville (Spain), 1991
- Banco de España, Jaén (Spain), 1988
- Spanish Social Security Building, Seville (Spain), 1988
- Museum of Roman Art, Merida (Spain), 1985
- Expansion of town hall building, Logroño (Spain), 1981
- Bankinter building, Madrid (Spain), 1977
- Uremea building, San Sebastian (Spain), 1968


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