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Mario Corea, Hon. FAIA

The AIA Honorary Fellowship program was developed as the international counterpart to the Fellowship program. Election to honorary fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of the foreign architect as an individual, but also elevates before the international public and the profession a model architect who has made a significant contribution to architecture and society on an international level.

An architect of esteemed character and distinguished achievements who is neither a U.S. citizen nor a resident of the United States and who does not primarily practice architecture within the domain of the Institute may be admitted to honorary fellowship.

The achievement of Barcelona, Spain’s Mario Corea, Hon. FAIA, lies in the award-winning quality of his buildings and also in the context of that quality. His work ranges from large-scale urban design to painstakingly-detailed restorations to functionally-demanding public buildings with strict public budgets. Within his firm, Corea Moran Arquitectura, he leads the design effort from conceptual sketches through resolution of the building fabric. This hands-on vision has led to his successfully winning many commissions through the highly-competitive ‘blind’ design competitions that are mandated for most public work in Spain.

Healthcare and sports facility architecture, as well as urban planning/design comprise the largest part of Corea’s practice, and his hospitals and clinics have made him a leader in that field. The largest of the works, in both Spain and Argentina, resolve extremely complex programs with open and elegant solutions that place the patient’s and family’s sense of well-being as a top priority. A functional type that all too often provides only healthcare services, in Corea’s hands it becomes true public architecture, contributing to civic identity, pride, and sense of place. Nowhere are these qualities better seen than in the Santa Eulalia Clinic for a neighborhood on the island of Ibiza. It is the smallest project featured in the definitive MoMA exhibition On Site: New Architecture in Spain and it is among the few that is not a ‘centerpiece’ building. Edward M. Baum, FAIA, in his nomination letter reaffirmed Corea’s significant contribution to healthcare practice when he said, “Healthcare facilities – programmatically, technically, and economically demanding – are not the usual stuff of fine architecture. However, Mario and his firm have made them central to their award-winning work. …his large hospitals bring elegance, spatial richness, and even joy to a building type that is usually associated with life’s difficulties.”

In the past dozen years Corea has also emerged as one of the important urban designers working in South America, bringing the same clear analysis and dynamic patterns to large-scale planning as he does to architecture. In Rosario, Argentina’s third-largest city, he leads the design of a plan that controls sprawl and establishes more compact, urbane patterns of use. And now the Province of Santa Fe has engaged him to establish a new overall plan to guide future urban planning and development in that area. Some of the well-over 100 projects included in this plan are now underway.

Architecture critic of the Boston Globe, Robert Campbell, FAIA, describes Corea as “an architect who has never lost faith in the Modern movement, but who has attained his own recognizable, individual way of working with it. His buildings are usually geometrically pure, precise, abstract compositions, richly modeled to be sure, but completely free of self-indulgent form-making of any kind. What gives them their special quality, again and again, is Mario’s skill and passion for all the ways in which you can introduce natural light into an interior, by means of unexpected openings and transparencies.”

In his sponsor letter, Edward Baum, FAIA, again noted that “All of Mario’s work carries his values: Architecture as a public venture, for the widest population, set in a civic context, celebrating the facts of building. Whether designing swimming pools for poor neighborhoods, or the 1992 Barcelona Olympics baseball venue, the connection to people and place is always clear.”

Mario Corea, Hon. FAIA


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Jeffrey A. Huberman, FAIA
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Allan W. Kehrt, FAIA

Michael Lischer, FAIA
London, England

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Jim W. Sealy, FAIA


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