JAMES ALCOCK is one of the two recipient of VAEA’s Páez Medal of Art 2020

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June 13th 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A message from
The Venezuelan American Endowment for the Arts
Ali Cordero Casal
Chairman
The Venezuelan American Endowment for the Arts
& the Board of Directors
Today we celebrate VAEA’s 30th anniversary and the 230th  birth anniversary of  José Antonio Páez  with this important announcement.

JAMES ALCOCK

Jimmy Alcock (location), 2019. Photo by Clarissa Alcock Bronfman

About James Alcock

Architect Walter James Alcock Matos, also known as Jimmy Alcock, is one of the most prolific Venezuelan architects of the late 20th century. He was born in Caracas, Venezuela, on September 14, 1932. After finishing elementary and middle school in Caracas, Alcock attended St. Edmund’s College (1946–1949) and University of Cambridge School of Chemistry (1949–1952), both in England. Back in Caracas, he enrolled in the architecture faculty at the Central University of Venezuela, graduating in 1959, and he later served as Landscape Architecture and Architectural Design professor. He also taught Landscape Architecture at Simón Bolívar University, USB. He has been a member of various public and private architecture juries and is a frequent guest speaker at various institutions and organizations.

In his long professional career in Venezuela, he worked as a public and private institutions advisor, from 1994 to 2001; he became Director of the National Art Gallery, GAN and the Director of the art institution “Sala Mendoza.” During the period 1960-1963 he worked with Architect José Miguel Galia before practicing privately at his company “Alcock, Architect.” In 1987, he associated with Frank Alcock and transformed his practice into “Alcock & Alcock, Architects”.

Jimmy Alcock was the architect of the iconic Poliedro de Caracas (1971–1974), a geodesic dome 125 meters in diameter, the largest one of its kind at the time. It’s commonly described as “the largest multipurpose room in the city.” Among his others notable works built in Caracas, it is worth mentioning the Altolar multifamily housing building; Parque Cristal building; Paseo Las Mercedes Shopping Center; redesign of the Alfredo Sadel Square; Univel building; Bank of the Caribbean building; Deaco Building; Lopez House; Las Mercedes Tower, among others. In Barquisimeto, Lara State, the Jira-Jara Hotel; in Vargas, the Recreational Plan of the Central Coast, and nationwide, the Service Stations System of the Venezuelan Petroleum Corporation. There are multiple educational, recreational projects, commercial projects, professional schools, cemeteries, gardens and landscape projects, plazas, urban developments, spas, village remodeling, hotels, shopping centers, banks, multifamily and single-family homes, clubs, and more. The presence and influence of Jimmy Alcock in Venezuelan architecture is felt everywhere.

He has received countless awards, including Municipal Architecture Prize, for the Parque Cristal Building (1987); Municipal Architecture Prize, for Unifamiliar Housing Project (1987); Regional Architecture Prize, with Architect M. Fuentes, for the Jira-Jara Hotel, Barquisimeto, Lara State (1987); National Architecture Award (1993), Francisco de Miranda Order, 1st. Class (1994). He was also invested as a Member of the National Academy of Engineering and Habitat and the Steering Committee, Chair XXXI (2003), Carlos Raúl Villanueva Order (CAV), 2014.

Publications: “Alcock Arquitectos 1959-1992,” National Art Gallery. Various books and magazines, national and international.

Contests Won: 1960 – Plaza Las Américas; Caño Amarillo, Caracas; 1961 – Service Station National Network (Venezuelan Petroleum Corporation); 1964 – New Headquarters of the College of Engineers of Venezuela.

This legendary Venezuelan architect has said: “I was born and trained here, and could not live in another country… I have always believed that making a building is taking on a responsibility to the city… Architecture is more a formal approach than a technological feat, which does not mean that they cannot be intertwined”.

At the conceptual level, his technical considerations are treated similarly in every architecture project. His work has stretched to traditional, classical formulations on a larger scale to free arrays of pavilions within a garden. Alcock says that, “We have a methodology that is quite complex.”It is very important that the architect knows how to build… If you don’t know how to build, you can’t design… Jimmy Alcock is not one of those who believe that the details are resolved on the fly. When he finishes his plans, he knows exactly how the work will look… We do not believe in chance; everything is intertwined and thought ”.

A jazz lover, he confesses: “I could not be an architect without jazz.” Likewise, he acknowledges his addiction to reading and refers to a phrase by Albert Einstein that defines his position when he expresses how complicated it is to explain the architecture: “All the elements that come to mind are more or less clear images that can be reproduced and intertwined. Expressing them in words is much more difficult.”

About Alcock and Gehry

This year VAEA is honoring with the 2020 Paez Medal for the Arts two prestigious architects recognized worldwide: Walter James Alcock (Venezuela) and Frank Owen Gehry (USA)

They, as sensitive and talented artists, have used architecture as their means of expression. Both are and will be recognized as excellent creators of remarkable works of unquestionable beauty and technological contributions, icons of their time. Let’s hLet’s honor who honor deserves.

Texts by:

Henrique Vera
Architectural Design Professor
Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism UCV
Betty Richards (VAEA)
Professor – Research Methodology
References taken from content written by José Luis Colmenares, Alejandro Ramírez Morón @aleramirezve and journalist Karina Lyn.

Acerca de James Alcock

El arquitecto Walter James Alcock Matos, también conocido como Jimmy Alcock, uno de los arquitectos venezolanos más prolíficos de finales del siglo XX, nació en Caracas, Venezuela, el 14 de septiembre de 1932. Después de terminar la escuela primaria y secundaria en Caracas, Alcock asistió a St Edmund’s College (1946–1949) y la Facultad de Química de la Universidad de Cambridge (1949–1952), ambos en Inglaterra. De vuelta en Caracas, se matriculó en la facultad de arquitectura de la Universidad Central de Venezuela, graduándose en 1959, y luego se desempeñó como profesor de Arquitectura del Paisaje y Diseño Arquitectónico. También enseñó Arquitectura del Paisaje en la Universidad Simón Bolívar, USB. Ha sido miembro de varios jurados de arquitectura públicos y privados y es un orador invitado frecuente en diversas instituciones y organizaciones.

En su larga carrera profesional en Venezuela, ocupó los siguientes cargos y funciones: Asesor de instituciones públicas y privadas, de 1994 a 2001: Director de la Galería Nacional de Arte, GAN, Director del Salón de Mendoza. Durante el período 1960-1963 trabajó con el arquitecto José Miguel Galia; desde 1964 hasta 1981 ejerció su profesión de forma privada, a través de su oficina: “Alcock, arquitecto”, y en 1987 se asoció con Frank Alcock y transformó su práctica en “Alcock & Alcock, arquitectos”.

Jimmy Alcock fue el arquitecto del icónico Poliedro de Caracas (1971–1974), una cúpula geodésica de 125 m de diámetro, la más grande de su tipo en ese momento, “la sala multiusos más grande de la ciudad”. Entre sus otras obras notables construidas en Caracas, vale la pena mencionar el edificio de viviendas multifamiliares Altolar; Edificio Parque Cristal; Centro Comercial Paseo Las Mercedes; rediseño de la plaza Alfredo Sadel; Edificio giratorio; Edificio del Banco del Caribe; Edificio Deaco; Casa López; Torre de las Mercedes, entre otras. En Barquisimeto, estado de Lara, el hotel Jira-Jara; en Vargas, el Plan Recreativo de la Costa Central, y en todo el país, el Sistema de Estaciones de Servicio de la Corporación Venezolana del Petróleo. Hay múltiples proyectos educativos, recreativos, tiendas-oficinas, escuelas profesionales, cementerios, proyectos de jardines y paisajismo, plazas, desarrollos urbanos, spas, remodelación de aldeas, hoteles, centros comerciales, bancos, viviendas multifamiliares y unifamiliares, clubes … La presencia e influencia de Jimmy Alcock en la arquitectura venezolana se siente en todas partes.

Ha recibido innumerables premios, incluido el Premio de Arquitectura Municipal, por el Edificio Parque Cristal (1987); Premio de Arquitectura Municipal, para Proyecto de Vivienda Unifamiliar (1987); Premio Regional de Arquitectura, con el Arquitecto M. Fuentes, para el Hotel Jira-Jara, Barquisimeto, Estado Lara (1987); Premio Nacional de Arquitectura (1993), Orden Francisco de Miranda, 1er. Clase (1994). También fue investido como miembro de la Academia Nacional de Ingeniería y Hábitat y del Comité Directivo, Presidente XXXI (2003), Orden Carlos Raúl Villanueva (CAV), 2014.

Publicaciones: “Alcock Arquitectos 1959-1992”, Galería Nacional de Arte. Varios libros y revistas, nacionales e internacionales.

Concursos ganados: 1960 – Plaza Las Américas; Caño Amarillo, Caracas; 1961 – Red Nacional de Estaciones de Servicio (Corporación Venezolana del Petróleo); 1964 – Nueva sede del Colegio de Ingenieros de Venezuela.

Este legendario arquitecto venezolano ha dicho: “Nací y me formé aquí, y no podría vivir en otro país”, “siempre he creído que hacer un edificio es asumir una responsabilidad con la ciudad”, “La arquitectura es un enfoque más formal que una hazaña tecnológica, lo que no significa que no puedan entrelazarse “.

Como a nivel conceptual, sus consideraciones técnicas se tratan de manera similar en cada proyecto de arquitectura. Su trabajo se ha extendido a formulaciones tradicionales y clásicas a mayor escala para liberar conjuntos de pabellones dentro de un jardín. Alcock dice que “tenemos una metodología que es bastante compleja”. “Es muy importante que el arquitecto sepa cómo construir”. “Si no sabes cómo construir, no puedes diseñar”. Jimmy Alcock no es uno de los que cree que los detalles se resuelven sobre la marcha. Cuando termina sus planes, sabe exactamente cómo se verá el trabajo. “No creemos en el azar; todo está entrelazado y pensado “.

Amante del jazz, confiesa: “No podría ser arquitecto sin jazz”, asimismo, reconoce su adicción a la lectura y se refiere a una frase de Albert Einstein, que define su posición cuando expresa lo complicado que es explicar la arquitectura. : “Todos los elementos que vienen a la mente son imágenes más o menos claras que pueden reproducirse y entrelazarse. Expresarlos en palabras es mucho más difícil.”

Sobre Alcock y Gehry

Este año, VAEA honra con la Medalla Paez 2020 para las Artes a dos prestigiosos arquitectos reconocidos en todo el mundo: Walter James Alcock y Frank Gehry.

Ellos, como artistas sensibles y talentosos, han utilizado la arquitectura como medio de expresión. Ambos son y serán reconocidos como excelentes creadores de obras notables de indudable belleza y contribuciones tecnológicas, íconos de su tiempo. Honremos a quien honor merece.

Textos de:

Henrique Vera
Profesor de diseño arquitectónico
Facultad de Arquitectura y Urbanismo UCV
Betty Richards (VAEA)
Profesor – Metodología de la Investigación
Referencias tomadas del contenido escrito por José Luis Colmenares, Alejandro Ramírez Morón @aleramirezve y la periodista Karina Lyn.

About the Páez Medal

The Páez Medal of Art is awarded once a year to an individual or group that has had an impact and contributed to the excellence, growth, support and proliferation of the arts in Venezuela and the United States; Previous recipients include: Margot Benacerraf in 2019,  Julian Schnabel in 2019, Gustavo Dudamel in 2018, Bob Colacello in 2017, Marisol Escobar in 2016; Annie Leibovitz in 2015; Sofía Imber in 2014, Robert Wilson in 2013 and Carlos Cruz-Diez in 2012.

Press information available in Spanish & English by request at contact@vaearts.org

About VAEA

The Venezuelan American Endowment for the Arts (VAEA) is a New York based 501 (c)3 public charity, founded on June 13, 1990  with the mission of promoting the best of Venezuelan and American cultures through bi-national cultural and social programs.
For additional information visit vaearts.org

For sponsor opportunities and early table reservations contact:

Ali Cordero Casal, Chairman, alicorderocasal@vaearts.org

+1 3053228899

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2020-06-20T15:16:03+00:00

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