Born in Valladolid, where his grandfather was an architect, but from the age of two, he lived in Cádiz where he saw the Light.
He is an Emeritus Head Professor of Design in the Madrid School of Architecture, ETSAM, where he has been a tenured Professor for more than 35 years. He has taught at the ETH in Zurich and the EPFL in Lausanne as well as the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, the Kansas State University, the CUA University in Washington, and L’Ecole d’Architecture in Tournai, Belgique. More recently, he has been named Clarkson Chair in Architecture by the Buffalo University, and Walton Critic Speaker at the School of Architecture and Planning of CUA, the Catholic University of America in Washington. In 2018-2019 he has been visiting professor in the School of Architecture of Barcelona, ETSAB. From 2017 to 2020 he was Emeritus Head Professor of Design. In 2021 he teaches as Visiting Professor at the New York Institute of Technology.
He has given lectures all over the world, and has received significant recognition like the Torroja Award for his Caja Granada or the Award of the UPM University for his Excellence in Teaching. In 2013 he was awarded the Heinrich Tessenow Gold Medal, the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the International Award Architecture in Stone in Verona, and the RIBA International Fellowship 2014 of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Also in 2014 he was elected Full Member to the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando of Spain. In 2015, he was awarded the BigMat Grand Prize in Berlin and the International Prize of Spanish Architecture (PAEI). And won the 1st Prize Ex Aequo to build the new LOUVRE. In 2017, he was awarded the Attolini Lack Medal of the Anahuac University of Mexico, and in 2018, the Honoris Causa Doctorate of the San Pablo CEU University and the Piranesi Prix di Roma. In 2019 he has been named Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, in New York and has won the Gold Medal of Spanish Architecure of the Spanish Higher Council of Architects Association. And in 2020 he has received the Honoris Causa Doctorate from the Lusíada University of Lisbon and from the National University of Rosario, Argentina.
His works have been widely recognized. From the Houses Turégano and de Blas, both in Madrid, to Gaspar House, Asencio House or Guerrero House in Cádiz, Rufo House in Toledo and Moliner House in Zaragoza. And the Olnick Spanu House in Garrison, New York, the House of the Infinite in Cádiz, and the Cala House in Madrid. Or the BIT Center in Inca-Mallorca, the public space Between Cathedrals, in Cádiz, the Caja de Granada Savings Bank and the MA, the Museum of Memory of Andalucía, both in Granada. And a nursery for Benetton in Venice, or the Offices in Zamora for the Regional Government of Castilla y León. In 2017 the Sports Pavilion for the University Francisco de Vitoria, in Madrid was finished, and, at present he is working in the Extension of the Lycée Français in Madrid. In 2020 he won the competition for the new bridge over the Piave River in Belluno, Venice.
And more than 30 editions of the books with his texts “La Idea Construida” [The Built Idea], “Pensar con las manos” [Thinking with your hands], and Principia Architectonica have been published in several languages. 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. In 2017, he published “Teaching to teach”, in 2019, “Palimpsesto Architectonico”, in 2020, “Rewriting” and “Trece trucos de Arquitectura” and, in 2021, he has published “Sapere Aude. Rewriting 2”.
He has exhibited his work in the Crown Hall by Mies at Chicago’s IIT and at the Palladio Basilica in Vicenza. And in the Urban Center In New York. And at the Saint Irene Church in Istanbul, and the Tempietto of San Pietro in Montorio, Rome. In 2009 the prestigious MA Gallery of Toto in Tokyo made an anthological exhibition of his work that, in 2011 was in the MAXXI Museum in Rome. In 2013 his work has been exhibited in the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, and in the Pibamarmi Foundation in Vicenza. In 2014 at the School of Architecture of Valencia. In 2015, in Cádiz, at the College of Architects, and at the Spanish Embassy of Iran in Teheran. More recently, in 2016 at the Oris House of Architecture in Zagreb, in 2017 at the Buffalo University of Architecture, in 2018 at the Museum of the University of Alicante and, in 2019, at the Fundaçao EPD in Lisbon. And in 2020, at the Oris House in Zagreb.
In 2021 he has won the National Prize for Architecture.