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Carriage Museum

Bak Gordon Arquitectos | Paulo Mendes da Rocha

Carriage Museum
By Yehuda Safran -

Paulo Mendes da Rocha is a rare architect of a worldwide reputation, winner of both the Mies van der Rohe and Pritzker Prizes, in 2000 and 2006 respectively. Surprisingly therefore, except for the Brazil pavilion at the 1970 Osaka Expo, he has hardly a project outside of Brazil to his name. But, here in Lisbon, Portugal the New Carriage Museum is fast changing this record. In his eighty-five years, Paulo Mendes has constructed his first building outside his native country, even if in a country still within the fold of his mother tongue.
Paulo Mendes was schooled by a small group of Brutalist architects, later known as the Paulista School, that included his mentor Villanova Artigas, and Lina Bo Bardi, who had left her native Italy in the immediate aftermath of World War II. They produced what could be described as one of the finest bodies of work in the Brutalist idiom conceived anywhere in the world. These days when so much of this legacy is being given conservation consideration in Europe, Paulo Mendes continues to deliver some of the finest Brutalist projects in existence. An example is the Brazilian Sculpture Museum in Sao Paulo, its large canopy roof offering a vast open space. There is no doubt that the engineering ingenuity and precision with which Paulo Mendes conceives and design his projects make each work an architectural masterpiece. His skill gives him the freedom to offer incomparable public and private spaces. His personal apprehension and fear of imminent catastrophe on one hand, coupled with a profound conviction that architecture, if practised correctly, could, however, make life safer, have spurred him to assume responsibility for more museums and libraries than ever before. This New Carriage Museum in Lisbon celebrates the past glory of the Portuguese kingdom when the production of luxury coaches was second to none. There is a certain irony in the fact that these adult toys, much admired for their craftsmanship and sheer ostentation, will...

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