Jose Rafael Moneo was born in Tudela in the province of Navarra (Spain) in May of 1937. He obtained his architectural degree in 1961 from the Escuela Técnica Superior of Madrid. Moneo combines his professional activity as an architect with that as lecturer, critic and theoretician. His writings have been published in the foremost professional magazines and the presentation of his work through lectures and exhibitions has taken him to numerous institutions on both sides of the Atlantic.
As the first ever Spanish architect to receive the Pritzker Prize, Rafael Moneo is known for his highly contextual buildings which nonetheless remain committed to modernist stylings. His designs are regularly credited as achieving the elusive quality of “timelessness”; as critic Robert Campbell wrote in his essay about Moneo for the Pritzker Prize, “a Moneo building creates an awareness of time by remembering its antecedents. It then layers this memory against its mission in the contemporary world.”
When he was young, Moneo was more attracted to philosophy and painting than architecture, however it was the influence of his father – an industrial designer – that eventually led to him pursuing a career in architecture. After graduation, Moneo spent two years in Rome as part of a fellowship with the Spanish Academy in Rome, a period which he credits as being “fundamental” to his development as an architect.