Rafael Moneo

José Rafael Moneo Vallés (Tudela, May 9, 1937) is a Spanish architect. He won the Pritzker Prize for architecture in 1996. He graduated from the Technical University of Madrid in 1961. From 1958 to 1961 he worked for the architectural firm of Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oíza in Madrid. After his studies, he went to work for the Danish architect Jørn Utzon, the designer of the Sydney Opera House. He also teaches at various universities and colleges in Europe and the United States. Since 1973 he has run his own architectural office in Madrid.


Rafael Moneo studied at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (ETSAM), graduating in 1961. He first worked in the architectural office of Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza on several projects between 1956 and 1961. He then moved to Denmark to work in Hellebaek with Jørn Utzon, the designer of the famous Sydney Opera House.

In 1963, he received a two-year scholarship to study at the Spanish Academy in Rome, a stay that had a great influence on his later work. He returned to Spain in 1965 and became assistant professor at ETSAM (1966-1970). In 1972, he became a professor of compositional elements at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Barcelona (ETSAB), which led him to live in Barcelona for almost ten years.

He then taught architecture, particularly at Harvard, in the United States. His main achievements are the Villahermosa Palace in Madrid, now the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the Roman Museum in Merida, the extension of the Atocha train station in Madrid, and the Diestre Factory in Zaragoza. He worked extensively in the United States and built the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, the Davis Museum at Wellesley College (Massachusetts) and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas.

He was chairman of the Department of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design from 1985 to 1990.

Work (selection)

  • Moderna Museet, Stockholm
  • Hotel and office building Grand Hyatt, Berlin
  • Congress Palace and Auditorium Kursaal, Donostia-San Sebastián
  • Plaza de Toros de Pamplona, Pamplona
  • Atocha Station, Madrid
  • Seville-San Pablo Airport, Seville
  • Extension Museo del Prado, Madrid
  • Museum of the Roman Theatre of Cartagena
  • Arenberg campus library, Heverlee, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven


He was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit in Fine Arts by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports in 1991,1 the Pritzker Prize in 1996, the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture Mies van der Rohe in 2001, and the Gold Medal of the Madrid Circle of Fine Arts2 in the same year.

In 1999 he received the Creu de Sant Jordi, an award from the Generalitat de Catalunya.

  • 1992 Gold medal for fine arts, awarded by the Spanish government
  • 1993 Rolf Schock Prize
  • 1993 Membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 1996 Pritzker Architecture Prize
  • 1997 Honorary membership in the Association of German Architects BDA
  • 1998 International Antonio Feltrinelli Award
  • 1999 Creu de Sant Jordi
  • 2001 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture
  • 2001 Mies van der Rohe Award for European Architecture for the Palacio de Congresos y Auditorio Kursaal
  • 2012 Prince of Asturias Award for Art
  • 2013 Membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters
  • 2017 Praemium Imperiale
  • 2019 Honorary Doctorate of the University of Navarre
  • 2021 Golden Lion of the Venice Architecture Biennale for lifetime achievement


  • Juli Capella: Rafael Moneo diseñador. Barcelona, Santa & Cole 2003, ISBN 84-932053-3-8.


  • 2017: Rafael Moneo - A Theoretical Reflection from the Professional Practice. Archive Materials (1961-2016), Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.
  • 2013: Rafael Moneo - Models for the City, Instituto Cervantes, Frankfurt am Main.


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Rafael Moneo


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This page was last changed on 2021-09-21.