September 15, 2020 - Casa da Arquitectura - Paulo Mendes da Rocha's Collection
e-flux Architecture
September 15, 2020
September 15, 2020

Casa da Arquitectura

Paulo Mendes da Rocha collection. Credits: Ivo Tavares Studio, José Calisto and Silvana Torrinha.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha's Collection

Casa da Arquitectura
Avenida Menéres, 456
4450-189 Matosinhos
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The collection of the Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Pritzker Prize 2006, was integrated in the Archive of Casa da Arquitectura – Portuguese Centre for Architecture.

The arrival of the entire Paulo Mendes da Rocha collection follows the donation, in 2015, of the National Coach Museum project and, in 2018, of a set of seven projects for the Brazilian Architecture Collection. 

Paulo Mendes da Rocha’s collection, which now arrives at Casa da Arquitectura (CA), includes all the material produced during his long professional life, from the 1950s to the present day. 

This incorporation encompasses nearly 8,800 items, relating to more than 320 projects and comprises: 
–approx. 6,300 analogue drawings
–approx. 3,000 photographs and slides
–approx. 300 publications
–a set of models made by the architect himself

For the Executive Director of Casa da Arquitectura, Nuno Sampaio, the arrival of this collection is a reason “of great satisfaction, due to the availability of Paulo Mendes da Rocha in acceding to our challenge to incorporate the totality of his collection in CA, completing the two previous donations.” And he adds: “Casa da Arquitectura is committed to maintain the unicity of the collection, presenting it to the world through its digital platforms and sharing and making available to researchers, students, universities at zero cost, promoting the study, publication and research on this very important work.”

Casa da Arquitectura will hold a monographic Exhibition dedicated to the architect in mid-2022, whose curatorial team will include architect Catherine Otondo, who was involved in the collection inventory process together with architect Berta Oliveira. 

The collection will integrate the Casa’s Archive Digital Platform, which will be launched later this year, and will allow universal access to all documents. For research and study purposes, Casa also provides high resolution images free of charge, thus promoting research and the development of knowledge about the work of the Brazilian architect.

In 2019, Casa da Arquitectura created a Study and Documentation Centre that will promote and encourage the investigation of the collection, namely with the creation of research grants in partnership with several public institutions, as well as, in a privileged way, with Universities from all over the world.  

Casa da Arquitectura is responsible for preserving the collection in the best conditions in its five Archive areas and will manage the lending policy of the various elements for multiple uses—exhibitions, publications and other forms of dissemination of the work. 

Casa is also committed to keeping accessible the physical supports that can be consulted at Casa da Arquitectura, through prior appointment. 

Nuno Sampaio considers that “the work of Paulo Mendes da Rocha is recognized for its merit and quality throughout the world, adding to it a recognized and published universal thought”. And he concludes: “He could have chosen any institution in the world to incorporate his collection, so I am delighted that he has chosen to integrate it into Casa da Arquitectura - Portuguese Centre for Architecture.” 

Paulo Mendes da Rocha 
Pritzker Prize in 2006, Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2016, Paulo Mendes da Rocha is one of the great donors for the Casa da Arquitectura archive and its first honorary associate member, a distinction that was announced during the inauguration of the Exhibition Infinito Vão – 90 Years of Brazilian Architecture in September 2018.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha was born in 1928 in Vitória, State of Espírito Santo, Brazil, having graduated from the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the Mackenzie University, in São Paulo, in 1954. He has an extensive work that has been distinguishing itself since 1957, with the construction of the Club Athletico Paulistano, his first reference work. With it, he won the Presidency of the Republic Grand Prize of the VI São Paulo Bienal. In 1969, he executed the project for the Official Pavilion of Brazil at Expo 70, in Osaka, Japan, together with Flávio Motta, Júlio Katinsky and Ruy Ohtake, and was among the finalists awarded in the competition for the preliminary project of the Georges Pompidou Cultural Centre, in Paris (1971). 

In 2006, Mendes da Rocha received the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The jury cited his “deep understanding of the poetics of space” and an “architecture of profound social engagement.”

Casa da Arquitectura
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