Construction Lessons

Rafael Moneo 

MAVI Museo de Artes Visuales, Santiago (1999-2000)

At the threshold of the 1990s, at the instigation of Francesco Dal Co, the Vicenza construction enterprise Caoduro decided to create an architecture award bearing the name Palladio that would be given in recognition of works built by architects under 40 years of age. Dal Co took on the role of jury secretary and invited me to be a member alongside James Stirling and Manfredo Tafuri. The winner of the first cycle was Jo Crepain from Belgium, for a one-family house, Villa de Wachter, and among the other finalists were the very young Herzog and De Meuron, for the first Ricola warehouse. Twenty-five years later I remember the decision as a gesture of deference – as much in Tafuri’s case as in mine – to the figure of Stirling, whose authority imposed itself without causing any fuss.

In 1991, the tables were turned. With the same members as the previous year, the jury unanimously gave first prize to Cristián Undurraga, for a one-family house in Santiago, Chile, in which the desire that the architecture be confused with the landscape – making us forget about the privateness of a house – seemed to come hand in hand with close attention to the construction, something rare in times when linguistic concerns – alert to deconstruction – and interest in vernacular architecture dominated programs of this kind... [+]

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