Life as inspiration: Neutra Award's first female recipient Carme Pinós

POMONA, Calif. (Nov. 14, 2016) – The Department of Architecture and College of Environmental Design on Monday night honored Spanish architect Carme Pinós, the first female recipient of the Richard Neutra Award for Professional Excellence.

She joins the ranks of notable practitioners and influential leaders, among them former U.S. Vice President Al Gore; Pritzker Architecture Prize winners Renzo Piano, Thom Mayne and Tadao Ando; and SCI-Arc founding member Michael Rotondi.

“When our students get an opportunity to meet an internationally prominent architect such as Carme Pinós, it can have a memorable impact on the students which lasts for their entire careers,” said Michael Woo, dean of the College of Environmental Design.

Pinós held a book signing for her latest publication, Carme Pinós: Architectures, at the University Theatre, where she chatted with well-wishers. She accepted her award in a ceremony presided over by the Cal Poly Pomona chapters of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) and the Tau Sigma Delta Honors Society, and elected student leaders from the ENV Council and ASI. An hour-and-half-long lecture concluded with a banquet in her honor at the Kellogg House.

She’s no stranger to the lecturer’s lectern. Pinós has held guest professorships at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, Columbia University, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and l’École Nationale Supérieure d’architecture Paris-Malaquais.

Pinós said it was important to communicate the role of architecture as a social service.

“To be honest, I try to explain the process of my thoughts and express that architecture is something you learn from life and its observation, and of understanding demand,” she said. “Architecture is a demand, an answer to necessity.”

An internationally acclaimed architect, her notable projects include the Cube II Tower in Guadalajara, Mexico; Building Departement 4 at the Vienna University of Economics and Business; the Novoli housing complex in Florence, Italy; the Catalan Government Headquarters in Tortosal; and the Gardunya Square and the Massana Fine Arts School in Barcelona. A decade-long collaboration (1982-1991) with architect Enric Miralles saw the completion of numerous parks and school building projects, and the award-winning 1992 Olympic Archery Range Buildings. In 2012 she launched OBJECTS, a line of home furnishings commercialized by her eponymous Barcelona-based firm.

Learn more about this year’s Neutra Award recipient at Estudio Carme Pinós.