Alberto Campo Baeza, Spanish National Architecture Award Ceremony

The architect, also winner of the BigMat International Architecture Award ’15 Grand Prize, was granted the highest honour for architects in Spain in recognition for a lifetime’s dedication to architecture and teaching.

National Architecture Prize ceremony, church of San Felipe Neri, Cadiz.

On December 2, 2021, the public ceremony for the presentation of the National Architecture Prize was held in Cadiz, in the church of San Felipe Neri, the Baroque space with an elliptical floor plan, where the Spanish Constitution was promulgated in 1812. The National Architecture Prize of Spain 2020, organized by the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, was awarded to the architect Alberto Campo Baeza last year.

This prize is awarded annually to outstanding Spanish architects of international stature and represents the highest award given by the Ministry. Previous winners include Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza (1946 and 1954), Alejandro de la Sota (1974), José Antonio Corrales and Ramón Vázquez Molezún (1948 and 2001), Miguel Fisac (2002), Juan Navarro Baldeweg (2014), Manuel Gallego Jorreto (1997 and 2008) and Rafael Moneo (1961 and 2015).

Office building in Zamora, Spain, Campo Baeza Architecture, BigMat International Architecture Award ’15 Grand Prize © Javier Callejas
De Blas House, 2000 © Hisao Suzuki

On this occasion, the jury was of the highest order: Alvaro Siza Vieira, winner in the previous edition, Manuel Gallego, Estrella de Diego, Elisa Valero, Carme Pigem, Inmaculada Maluenda and Lucía Cano, together with the Director and Deputy Director of Architecture. Campo Baeza’s nomination for the National Architecture Prize was endorsed by the Schools of Architecture of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Valladolid, Pamplona and Granada. And by the Official Architects’ Associations of Madrid, Almería, Asturias and Cádiz, and by the San Pablo CEU University and the CSCAE.

National Architecture Prize ceremony, church of San Felipe Neri, Cadiz.
Alberto Campo Baeza crit session at Technical University of Madrid ETSAM
Alberto Campo Baeza crit session at Technical University of Madrid ETSAM

The award seeks to recognize the architect’s lifelong career; in Alberto Campo Baeza’s case, the jury especially highlighted the coherence of his professional work alongside his teaching career of over 50 years. His creative freedom and his dedication have taken part in the education and training of several generations of architects who have found in his work a source of inspiration.

Caja Granada, 2001 © Roland Halbe

Alberto Campo Baeza is an Emeritus Professor ar the Madrid School of Architecture, where he has been teaching for over 50 years. In his teaching career he has also been a prolific lecturer and professor at the ETH in Zurich, EPFL in Lausanne, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and the Technische Universität in Wien, among others. In recent years he has been elected Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Full Member of the Royal Academy Of Fine Arts of San Fernando in Spain, as well as being appointed Doctor Honoris Causa of the CEU San Pablo University. He has received numerous prizes, such as the Piranesi Prix of Rome or the Spanish Architects Association Gold Medal, which is the highest honor given to an architect from within the architecture profession in Spain. In 2015, Alberto Campo Baeza was also winner of the 2013 Big Mat International Architecture Award Grand Prize for an office building in Zamora.

Campo Baeza has publicly expressed his profound gratitude for this prestigious award, which he says owes more to the generosity of the judges than to his own merits. And even though he has received countless awards throughout his life, he continues to highlight the generosity of each and every jury. Of all the awards bestowed on him throughout his lifetime, he says that the one he most cherishes is that of excellence in teaching, awarded by his alma mater, the UPM, in 2012. In accordance with prevailing regulations, 2020 marks Campo Baeza’s final year of teaching as Professor Emeritus at the UPM’s School of Architecture in Madrid, the ETSAM.  In the coming spring semester, he will be teaching in New York, at the NYIT, the New York Institute of Technology.

Gaspar House, 1992 © Alberto Campo Baeza
Centre BIT Mallorca, 1998 © Raúl del Valle


His timeless style of simple, sleek design lines have made Alberto Campo’s works an instant classic of Spanish contemporary architecture. From his renowned houses in Spain such as the Turégano, De Blas or Gaspar Houses in Spain and the Olnick Spanu House in New York, to the widely popular larger buildings like the Benetton Nursery in Venice, Caja de Granada Bank Headquarters in Granada and urban design works like the “Among Cathedrals” square in Cadiz – all of these are examples of an elegant and thoughtful approach to architecture that have brought architecture to a higher standard both in Spain and abroad.

House of the Infinite, 2014 © Javier Callejas
Olnick Spanu House, 2008 © Javier Callejas

In recent years he has finished several buildings – an office building in Zamora (2012), winner of the 13 BigMat International Architecture Grand Prize; the Infinity and Cala houses in Cadiz and Madrid, a Sports Court for the Francisco de Vitoria University – while also winning important international competitions like the Conservation Centre for the Louvre Museum in Lievin (Ex Aequo) and the Extension of the French School in Madrid (which is currently under development).

Guerrero House, 2005© Roland Halbe
Benetton Nursery, 2007 © Hisao Suzuki

Over 30 editions of his books have been printed and published in several languages, “La Idea Construida” [The Built Idea], “Pensar con las manos” [Thinking with your hands], and “Principia Architectonica”. In 2014 he published “Poetica Architectonica”, in 2015 “The Built Idea” was translated into English and Chinese and in 2016 his latest texts were published under the title “Varia Architectonica”. Recently, all his work has been gathered in a book, “Complete Works” by Thames & Hudson, he has published “Teaching to teach”(2017), “Palimpsesto Arquitectonico”(2018), and “Sharpening the Scalpel”(2019).  In 2020, he has published “Trece trucos” and a new book of texts in English, “Rewriting about Architecture”.

Andalucia Museum, 2009 © Javier Callejas
Multi-sport pavilion, 2017 © Javier Callejas

His works have been exhibited in Mies Van der Rohe’s Crown Hall in Chicago IIT, in Palladio’s Basilica in Vicenza, at the Urban Center in New York and at the Church of Santa Irene in Istanbul; at San Pietro in Montorio in Rome; at the prestigious MA Gallery Toto in Tokyo, at the MAXXI Museum in Rome and, more recently, at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York and at the Pibamarmi Foundation in Vicenza.

Rufo House, 2009 © Alberto Campo Baeza