World-famous architect Rafael Moneo traveled thousands of miles from Madrid to address an overflowing crowd, some even watching on closed circuit TV, yesterday at the Art and Architecture Building for the annual Raoul Wallenberg Lecture.
The lecture is given by an architect from the international community each year in honor of Wallenberg, a 1935 Swedish graduate of the University”s College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Wallenberg disappeared in Russia after helping to save more than 100,000 Jews from Nazi Germany during World War II while working as the first secretary of the Swedish delegation to Budapest.
“It is extremely compelling for me to help remember such a generous and courageous man as Raoul Wallenberg with a presentation of my work,” said Moneo.
Moneo is a prestigious Spanish architect who has won both the Pritzker prize and the UIA gold medal for achievements in architecture. Moneo has designed museums, train stations, offices and public and residential buildings throughout Spain as well as a museum at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Moneo also has served as the department head at Harvard”s School of Architecture.
“The Wallenberg lecture has always drawn the most prestigious names in architecture the world over, and having Rafael Moneo here today continues that tradition,” said Lynn Styles, a School of Architecture student.
Moneo began his lecture with his latest reflections on the direction modern architecture is headed. Moneo explained that in the past, architecture and design was allied with political and religious power with those who had the money to fund large construction projects.
“Power is no longer the ally of architecture, there has been greater architectural freedom since the 1970s,” Moneo said.
Moneo stated that a key to architecture is perceiving the work as a completed form. “Architecture only reaches its true status when it is realized, when it acquires its being as an object, and when it is transformed into material reality as a building.”
Moneo said that in the modern era, computers are seen as something that will aid in this conceptualization of the architectural plans as finished project.
“The new technology is no longer related to building and resources, but rather computers as tools in the design process,” Moneo said.
Finally, he discussed the architect”s duty in the coming years to work with the changing urban landscape and lack of space.
“We must accept the responsibility we have for consolidating form,” Moneo said.
Following his opening speech, Moneo gave a slide presentation that depicted models and pictures of his work, and elaborated further on the history and theory behind architecture.