At this point of his career, Rafael Moneo probably looks upon awards and distinctions with a certain distance. But it is definitely still good news that Spain’s most influential architect, at 80 years of age, continues to garner international recognition. The latest is the Praemium Imperiale given since 1989 by the Imperial House of Japan and the Japan Art Association to artists of different disciplines, each one receiving 115,000 euros. Moneo’s co-laureates are the Iranian-American painter Shirin Neshat, the Ghanese sculptor El Anatsui, the Senegalese composer Youssou N’Dour, and the Latvian-American dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov.
This highly prestigious honor comes just a few weeks after news of an invitation for the Navarre-born master to travel to London and deliver the inaugural Soane Annual Lecture, created with the purpose of bringing the Soane Foundation – home for which is the architect John Soane’s famous house and museum at 10 Lincoln’s Inn Field – into the contemporary debate. The lecture will be held on 10 November at the Royal Institution, and in the course of the event Rafael Moneo – who according to the statement issued by the jury embodies “the idea of architecture as something that resides not just in the structure and the materials of a building, but in time and place, word and image, people and community” – will be given the Soane Medal, a copy of a medallion that was bestowed on Sir John Soane in the year 1835 by the collective of English architects, in acknowledgement of his services.