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Rafael Moneo: 1937—: Architect Biography

Worked On Many Spanish Projects, Won Coveted Award And Cathedral Commission

Rafael Moneo: 1937—: Architect.

Spanish architect Rafael Moneo took one of his field's top honors in 1996 when he was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize. The first Spanish architect ever to win the award, Moneo became part of an esteemed roster of winners that included I. M. Pei, Robert Venturi, and Philip Johnson. Six years later, Moneo won critical acclaim for the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, the home church of Los Angeles's Roman Catholic diocese. Writing in the New Yorker, Paul Goldberger called Moneo "a designer of exceptional thoughtfulness and precision. Even though he almost always works in masonry, his buildings have a certain delicacy."

Moneo was born on May 9, 1937, in Tudela, a city in Navarra, Spain. His father was a structural engineer, but Moneo was originally interested in philosophy and painting before changing course and earning a degree from Madrid University's school of architecture in 1961. His first career post was with the firm of renowned Danish architect Jorn Utzon; at the time, Utzon was completing a commission in Australia for the Sydney Opera House, heralded as one of the world's greatest modern structures upon its completion in 1973, and Moneo worked on-site during the first years of the 16-year project.

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