Rafael Manzano Martos

Rafael Manzano Martos

Rafael Manzano Martos, a Spanish architect known for his distinctive use of the Mudéjar style, received the 2010 Richard H. Driehaus Prize for Classical Architecture at a ceremony March 27th in Chicago at the John B. Murphy Auditorium. The $200,000 Driehaus Prize, presented annually to a distinguished classical architect, represents the largest recognition of classicism in the contemporary built environment. In conjunction with the Driehaus Prize, legendary Yale professor and preservationist Vincent Scully received the $50,000 Henry Hope Reed Award. 

Manzano's work spans cultures. Mudéjar emerged as a style blending Muslim and Christian influences in the 12th century on the Iberian Peninsula. With expertise in this style and a command of the Western and Islamic vernaculars, Manzano has designed hotels and other commercial buildings, along with homes and residential complexes throughout Spain and the Middle East. His best-known work includes state homes for Chueca Goitia in Seville and Curro Romero in Marbella (now a Julio Iglasias property). His fluency in Islamic style is evident in his designs for a hotel in Mosul, Iraq, and a hotel resort and shopping district in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. A manor house for Faisal Hassan Jawal in Bahrain is currently under construction. 

Born in Cádiz, Spain, on November 6, 1936, Manzano received his PhD from the Architecture School of Madrid in 1963. His career has included building restoration, urban planning, and teaching, in addition to his architectural work. From 1970 to 1991, Manzano served as the Director-Curator and Governor of the Alcázar of Seville, a royal palace. Originally a Moorish fort, the Alcázar is one of the best remaining examples of Mudéjar architecture. While in this role, Manzano restored the al-Muwarak Domestic Palace, the residence of al-Mutamid in Seville, on the premises of the Casa de la Contratación (House of Trade). The Casa, which dealt with legal disputes on trade with the Americas, includes a chapel where Christopher Columbus met with Ferdinand and Isabella after his second voyage. Today Manzano teaches at the Seville Superior Technical School of Architecture.

View the video produced by Spanish filmmaker Irene Pérez-Porro Stillman on the work of Rafael Manzano Martos.