The architect began his professional career in 1957, and soon became the leader of the avant-garde of São Paulo - the so-called school of "São Paulo brutalism".
His works are characterized by attention to engineering, innovative use of steel and concrete, reflection in projects of environmental conservation problems, attempts to solve social problems through architecture.
The work of Mendes da Rochi is based on the legacy of Le Corbusier - that is, his modernism can be called traditional, but by no means old-fashioned. His style is very individual and expressive, even somewhat expressive. Working on any scale, he treats concrete and steel very carefully as they are brittle materials, thus avoiding treating building construction as an industrial process. In large structures, he tries to lighten the impression of heavy masses of concrete, sometimes resorting to almost acrobatic technical solutions.
Mendes da Rocha is almost unknown outside of Brazil - which does credit to the Pritzker Prize jury, who has stepped back from the list of "international stars" this year.
The attention of foreign press and architects was attracted by his design of the Brazilian pavilion at the International Exhibition in Osaka in 1970, as well as the award of the Mies van der Rohe Prize for Latin America in 2000.
The award ceremony for the Pritzker Prize will take place this year on May 30 in Istanbul.