Pritzker-winning architect to deliver lecture in Soane’s footsteps

Rafael Moneo is to be awarded the inaugural Soane Medal, a new honour announced by the Soane Museum.

The Spanish architect will receive a copy of the medal presented in 1835 to Sir John Soane by “the Architects of England”, in recognition of his “essential services to architecture”.

Moneo will also deliver the first Soane Annual Lecture, a new annual public event intended to recognise architects, artists, writers and others whose work has broadened and enriched understandings of architecture and the built environment.

The annual lecture series has been conceived to tackle the paucity of public debate about the built environment.

“As we tackle the challenges of the 21st century – housing shortages, uncoordinated development, strained infrastructure, congestion, pollution, the effects of climate change – this approach to architecture is arguably more important today than it has ever been,” said a museum spokesman.

“The annual lecture will encourage better understanding of the influence of architecture both throughout history and in the future. By identifying and addressing common issues, it will seek to bridge the gap between theory and practice, between academics and practitioners, between planners and developers, between conservation and development.

“As such, the awarding of the lectureship is not only a tribute to talent and imagination in architectural works alone, but also recognises those individuals who have dedicated themselves to a wider view of the built environment, to the city, as well as to architectural theory and teaching.”

The lecture will be held on November 1 at the Royal Institution, Albemarle Street, in the auditorium where Soane himself lectured.

David Chipperfield, a trustee of the museum said: “We are delighted to announce this new Soane Annual Lecture and Medal, and look forward to the significant voices and ideas it will bring to the museum. Our aim is to promote architectural culture, as Soane himself worked so tirelessly to do, and we hope it will become an important event in the London calendar.”

Bruce Boucher, director of the museum, said Moneo’s buildings, writings, and teaching had “immeasurably enriched the field of architecture, and his lecture promises to be a significant contribution to the contemporary discussion”.

Rafael Moneo

Spanish architect Rafael Moneo has devoted his career to teaching, writing and practice. He won the Pritzker Prize in 1996.

Moneo’s career has embodied the idea of architecture as something that resides not just in the structure and the materials of a building, but in time and place, word and image, people and community. His most famous works include the National Museum of Art in Merida, the extension to Prado Museum in Madrid, and the City Hall in Murcia.