Praemium Imperiale 2016
Paulo Mendes da Rocha
The Imperial House of Japan and the Japan Art Association give yearly since 1989 the Praemium Imperiale to five artists in the categories of Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music, and Cinema or Theater. In 2016 the awards – endowed with 111,000 euros – have gone to painter Cindy Sherman, sculptor Annette Mesager, violinist Gidon Kremer, filmmaker Martin Scorsese, and to the architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha, who this year also picked up the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale. Born in 1928, father of the Paulista School and Pritzker Prize in 2006, Mendes da Rocha is today the undisputed master of Brazilian architecture. He is the author of a crop of works with a powerful structure and social vocation, defined by a multidisciplinary approach that combines architecture, politics, geography, history, and technique, and that guarantee a prominent place for him in the list of 20th-century masters. But even more important is the exemplary role, of moral conscience even, that Mendes da Rocha has played for several generations of Latin American architects, a role that perhaps guarantees the continuity of his ideas.