April 29, 2008
by Canadian Architect
The Union Internationale des Architectes (UIA) jury has awarded the 2008 Gold medal to the Mexican architect Teodoro Gonzalez de Leon, who will receive the medal at a ceremony in Turin, on July 2, 2008 at the 23rd UIA Congress.
Through this medal, the UIA honours and highlights a lifetime of work devoted to the realization of an architecture that reflects an era, its social reality, its culture and its traditions. The work of Teodoro Gonzalez de Leon is part of the architecture of the Modern movement, with a vocabulary that is constantly renewed, enriched and reinterpreted. His architecture is monumental, and the intelligent use of materials, light and texture imbue his buildings with a certain presence, in and out of urban contexts.
The jury for the 2008 Gold Medal met in Bratislava, on April 16-17, 2008. Under thepresidency of Gatan Siew, UIA President, the jury was comprised of: Jordi Farrando, UIA Secretary General (Spain); Donald J. Hackl, UIA Treasurer (USA); Louise Cox, 1st UIA Vice-President (Australia); Martin Drahovsky, 2nd Vice-Prsident (Slovakia); Giancarlo Ius (Italy); Mauricio Rivero Borrell (Mexico); Seif Alnaga, UIA Vice-President (Egypt); and Wolf Tochtermann, Director of the UIA International Competitions Commission (Germany).
Teodoro Gonzalez de Leon was born in 1926 in Mexico and studied in his home country at the National School of Architecture from 1942 to 1947. He was granted a scholarship by the Frenchgovernment and worked in the Le Corbusier Atelier between 1947 and 1949, notably onthe St Di factory project. He returned to practice in Mexico in 1950.
His work covers a wide variety of programs: public buildings, housing and residences, urban spaces, parks and gardens. His most famous work of the 1970-1980 period include the Mexican embassy in Brazilia, the Mexico College and the INFONAVIT building with Abraham Zabludovsky, and the Toms Garrido Canabal Park in Villahermosa, Tabasco (1986) with Francisco Serrano and Aurelio Nuo, and more recently, the archaeological museum on the Tajin site in Veracruz (1992), the Superior School of Music in Mexico (1994), and the Mexican Embassy in Berlin (1999) with Francisco Serrano.
When creating this medal in 1984, the UIA intended that it carry with it a level of prestige equivalent to that of the Nobel Prize in the fields of Arts, Sciences and Social Sciences. This unique international distinction is the supreme honour an architect can receive from his/her peers. It is awarded to a living architect, in recognition of his/her achievements and contributions made throughout his/her life and career, to the benefit of man and society, and the promotion of the artof architecture.
Since its creation, the UIA Gold Medal has been awarded to:
Hassan Fathy (Egypt) in 1984
Reima Pietila (Finland) in 1987
Charles Correa (India) in 1990
Fumihiko Maki (Japan) in 1993
Rafael Moneo (Spain) in 1996
Ricardo Legorreta Vilchis (Mexico) in 1999
Renzo Piano (Italy) in 2002
Tadao Ando (Japan) in 2005
For more information, please visit www.uia-architectes.org.