Lecture date: 2014-02-07
Rafael Moneo received undergraduate (1961) and doctoral (1965) degrees from the MadridSchool of Architecture, worked (1960‐61) with Danish architect Jørn Utzon, and studied (1963‐65) at the Spanish Academy in Rome before opening (1965) his own practice in Madrid. Moneo, who founded (1968) Arquitectura Bis magazine, is also a noted theorist, critic, and teacher. He has taught in Spain and at such American institutions as Princeton and Harvard, where he was (1985‐90) head of the graduate architecture department and remains a professor. Among his many awards is the 1996 Pritzker Prize.
Join us for an evening with Henry N. Cobb, Peter Eisenman, and Rafael Moneo as they investigate the question, “How will architecture be conceived?” Each participant will give a brief presentation, after which, they will engage in an intimate discussion together on stage.
Jose Rafael Moneo is the first Josep Lluis Sert Professor of Architecture. He was chairman of the Department of Architecture from 1985 until 1990 and teaches the lecture courses On Contemporary Architecture, and Design Theories in Architecture.
Before joining the School of Design, Moneo was a fellow at the Spanish Academy in Rome and taught in Barcelona and Madrid. His scholarly work includes numerous articles and lectures published throughout the world. His projects include the Bankinter Building in Madrid, the Museum of Roman Art in Merida, the L'Illa building in Barcelona, the Pilar and Joan Miro Museum in Palma de Mallorca, the "Kursaal" Auditorium and Congess Center in San Sebastian, the extension of the Prado Museum in Madrid, as well as the Davis Art Museum at Wellesley College, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles. Moneo has been awarded the Gold Medal by the Spanish government, the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Prince of Viana Prize (Spain), the Swedish Schock Price for the Visual Arts and the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal. In 1996, he received the UIA Gold Medal and the Pritzker Prize.
Lecture date: 1996-11-14
John Dennys Memorial Lecture: John Dennys was involved with the AA over a period of 27 years - as a student, lecturer, member of Council, and President. On his death in 1973, a visiting lectureship was established to mark his interest in education. Jos Rafael Moneo identifies fragmentation and minimalism as the guiding principles in today's architecture. Presenting a selection of his own projects he explores the relationship between the idea of fragmentation and the destruction of repetition. Throughout his career Moneo has demonstrated a tremendous range. His built projects include art museums, residential buildings, a railway station, an airport, factory, hotel, and city hall. As a writer and critic he has devoted almost as much time to education as he has to design. He has taught at the schools of architecture of both Madrid and Barcelona University, and for five years was the chairman of the Department of Architecture at the Harvard GSD. In 1996 he was awarded the Pritzker Prize.
NB: Sound cuts out after 75 mins, lecture cuts out shortly after.
John Dennys Memorial lecture.
Mohsen Mostafavi introduces Rafael Moneo.
RAFAEL MONEO: Let’s start rapidly telling about my gratefulness to Mohsen Mostafavi for inviting me to give this first John Dennys memorial lecture. It is always rewarding to be in london and to be in this school. I am quite aware of how important this school was and is, and therefore to have this opportunity to share with you where my thoughts are and what are the intentions behind my projects is what I will try to do today. I will read first some comments, or statements that will allow me to explain more clearly what I am trying to do with some of my latest works. I brought those works in which I am working at the moment, because they represent, or illustrate better the thesis I’m trying to sustain.
I would say that fragmentation is the most characteristic architectural feature, matched only by an almost symmetrically oriented phenomenon of minimalist expression. Opening any architectural magazine in whatever part of the world, one sees that architects’ interest oscillates between these two poles, either a scattered, broken structure where sharp and pointed planes are committed in an intense dance, ignoring whatever geometrical mandate, or frozen solid mass—with pleasure in a careful handling of the material—does attempting to accomplish all the duties architecture had in the past.
It could be said that the scope of recent architecture falls within these two categories, allowing one to speak of fragmentation as the latest expression of organicism, and minimalism as those who have flourished by the sites planted by Mies van der Rohe. Two attitudes that without doubt, could be considered as antagonistically opposed and yet bound in what I believe characterizes most of our architecture today in a relentless fear of form.
As a matter of fact, form, something that used to be the core of the entire architectural discourse, is censored, and as a result, most of today’s architecture is dictated by these two main trends fragmentation and minimalism which I will try to examine very briefly now, keeping in mind that some alternative is still possible, and that is the territory in which I will like to move. I realize that fragmentation is too broad a concept. I am also aware of how appealing fragmented vision is, when sciences are unable to establish the unitarian model to look at nature and when society stretches more and more towards a diversity, which makes inevitable reference to a fragmented, broken world.
Fragmentation is for us a formal metaphor to describe the reality around us and therefore, seeing things in such a way, one would be tempted to say that the fragmented architecture mirrors today’s world, falling once more in this inescapable trap of the third gaze to justify our world. I would like to carry the issue a bit further and to remind you today when and how fragmentation started to take over in the realm of form.
The origins of fragmentation are uncertain, some kinds of what we understand as a broken form appear in the work of artists like Giulio Romano or later in architects like Fischer Von Erlach in projects such as the Karlskirche, but for our purposes, the first clear evidence of the fragmentation is found in Piranesi’s drawings of the Campo Marzio. This shows a clear understanding of the significance of the destruction of the sense of unity which was deliberately pursued after the Renaissance.
It has been emphasized repeatedly that what Piranesi sought was the potential of form liberation. Tafuri has written beautiful and illuminating pages on him and I wouldn’t dare to challenge his worlds, so I will quote him directly: “the definitive laws of the first organicism” describing Pira
Pritzker prizewinning architect Rafael Moneo spent a year with Danish architect Jørn Utzon in 1961, when Utzon was working on the Sydney Opera House. The Spanish architect here shares how he experienced Utzon – who would have turned 100 in 2018 – in the face of the outstanding project.
Moneo recalls how Utzon was always secure of himself, even in difficult situations concerning the work on the Sydney Opera House: “He always kept the calm. He had this condition of an almost heroic figure.” Back then there was already an awareness that the Sydney Opera House “was going to be the highlight of recent architecture.”
“The character of the work has something to do with his personality as well.” Moneo feels that there was continuity between Utzon and his work – the Danish architect was very independent and didn’t want to be trapped by being modernist for the pleasure of being modernist, but always made sure that each of his projects had real substance – and something distinctive.
Rafael Moneo (b. 1937) is a Spanish architect known for his highly contextual buildings, which include Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Kursaal Congress Centre and Auditorium in San Sebastián, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, the Davis Art Museum in Massachusetts and the National Museum of Roman Art in Mérida, Spain. After graduating from the Madrid University School of Architecture in 1961, he travelled Europe in order to work with Jørn Utzon and Alvar Aalto before returning to Madrid. Moneo is the recipient of prestigious awards such as the Pritzker Prize for architecture (1996) (the first ever Spanish architect to receive this prize), the 2003 RIBA Royal Gold Medal, the 2012 Prince of Asturias Award, the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture (2012) and the Praemium Imperiale (2017).
Jørn Utzon (b.1918-d.2008) was a Danish Pritzker Prize-winning architect responsible for notable buildings such as the Sydney Opera House (1973) in Australia. When it was declared a World Heritage Site in 2007, Utzon became the second person to have received such recognition for a work during his lifetime. Other noteworthy buildings by Utzon include Bagsværd Church in Denmark (1976) and the National Assembly Building in Kuwait (1982).
Rafael Moneo was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at his studio in Madrid in November 2017. The interview is part of a collaboration with the Utzon Center in Aalborg, Denmark in connection with Utzon’s 100th birthday in April 2018.
Camera: Mathias Nyholm Schmidt
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2018
Supported by Dreyers Fond
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