Rafael Moneo awarded prestigious art prize in Japan

  • Society

Rafael Moneo awarded prestigious art prize in Japan

Architect Rafael Moneo at a retrospective of his works in A Coruña, Galicia. Photo: EFE/Cabalar. (EFE)
Architect Rafael Moneo at a retrospective of his works in A Coruña, Galicia. Photo: EFE/Cabalar. (EFE)

Rafael Moneo, one of the most internationally distinguished Spanish architects, has added another award to his collection, the Praemium Imperiale, a most prestigious art prize awarded by the Japan Art Association. He is the first Spanish architect to have received this coveted prize.

The jury chose Moneo for his careful work when designing structures, which ‘ensures that his buildings blend effortlessly into the city landscape, while respecting the environment.’

The judges’ decision took into account some of Moneo’s projects, like the National Museum of Roman Art in Mérida, the Madrid Atocha railway station, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, and the extension of the Prado Museum.

Moneo received the Pritzker Architecture Prize – the so-called ‘Nobel Prize in Architecture’ – in 1996, thus becoming the first Spaniard to have won it. More recently, the Pritzker went to another three Spanish architects. The Praemium Imperiale had been awarded to three Spaniards before Moneo: painter Antoni Tàpies (1990), sculptor Eduardo Chillida (1991) and tenor Plácido Domingo (2013).

This year’s five laureates will receive the Praemium Imperiale at a gala to be held in Tokyo on 18 October. The other four winners are Iranian-born visual artist Shirin Neshat, Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui, Senegalese singer, songwriter and composer Youssou N’Dour, and Soviet-American dancer, choreographer and actor Mikhail Baryshnikov (born in Latvia).