Established by the Academy in 1943, this award is given annually to a Spanish or foreign person or entity that has distinguished itself in an outstanding way in the study, promotion or dissemination of the arts, in artistic creation or in the protection of historical, cultural and natural heritage.
The ETSAM has played an outstanding role in the history of modern and contemporary architecture in Spain, as well as an extensive work in the conservation of architectural heritage, as endorsed by its consolidated international prestige.
In his speech, Rafael Manzano traced the trajectory of the School from its origins within the Academy itself to the present day. Architectural studies at the Academy began in 1744, together with painting and sculpture. The didactic needs led to the fact that, a century later, architectural studies were separated from the Academy, evolving until 1857, when it became the Escuela Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (School of Architecture of Madrid). The trend towards a more scientific and technical side of the subjects it taught, following in the French footsteps, and in line with the rise of the empirical defense of modern science, led to its affiliation to the Central University of Madrid and later to the Polytechnic University. Studies at the ETSAM have prioritized scientific thought over the more artistic meaning of the practice of architecture.
The link between the Academy and the School historically extends to the academics themselves, a large number of whom have combined, and continue to do so, activities in both institutions. The academic-professor relationship has been and continues to be a constant that has favored the flow of knowledge and practices.
With this award, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts consolidates its ties with the Escuela T.S. de Arquitectura de Madrid, inaugurating a new stage of collaboration articulated around shared projects of a teaching, research and architectural dissemination nature.