MENTORING TOMORROW’S ARCHITECTS

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MENTORS AND PROTÉGÉS IN ARCHITECTURE

Through the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts
Initiative, Rolex is fostering new talent on
the world stage in the fields of architecture,
visual arts, music, dance, literature,
film and theatre. This unique philanthropic
programme brings artistic masters together
with highly promising young artists for a
year of creative collaboration in a one-toone
mentoring relationship.

Since the launch of the programme in
2002, many of the world’s most respected
creators have given their time to serve
as mentors or advisors, enabling Rolex
to build a remarkable artistic community
transcending generations, nationalities and
cultural disciplines.

From the beginning, the Rolex Arts Initiative
recognized the importance of architecture.
In the inaugural cycle of the programme in
2002–2003, Portuguese architect Álvaro
Siza served as visual arts mentor, selecting
young Jordanian architect Sahel Al-Hiyari
as his protégé.

The mentorship was one of the defining periods
of Al-Hiyari’s early career. “My year
with Álvaro Siza has had a powerful influence
on my work,” he said. “I still draw
inspiration from our many discussions.”
Today, after studying in America, Al-Hiyari
is based in Amman running a practice that
employs six architects. In addition, he lectures
extensively internationally and has
served as a reviewer and a member of the
master jury for the Aga Khan Award for
Architecture. He is also a talented painter.

In 2012, with the guidance and support
of some of the world’s leading architects,
Rolex added architecture as a separate category
of the Arts Initiative, ensuring that
the programme will benefit many young
architects in the future.

“I’VE TRIED TO CREATE A SENSE
OF OPTIMISM AND HOPE IN THE
SPACE. I FEEL THE IDEA OF
A HOME-FOR-ALL CONTAINS THE
QUALITY OF A CHAPEL.” YANG ZHAO

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Kazuyo Sejima was appointed the first

mentor in the new category in 2012–2013,
selecting Chinese architect Yang Zhao as
her protégé for the year. He was invited by
his mentor to work under her guidance on
a building as part of Home-For-All, a project
initiated by several Japanese architects
to create new community buildings for the
region of Japan devastated by the 2011
tsunami.

Zhao designed a meeting place for the
fishing community of Kesennuma, a small,
coastal town in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture,
which was opened on 27 October 2013.
Zhao said of his mentoring year: “The
Home-For-All is a very unusual project that
brings our discipline back to its very basic
task – to provide shelters for basic human
needs. Sejima-san pushed me to make a
more ambitious project when I came up
with something lukewarm. Her remarks
on my design helped to add more sophistication
into my thinking.

She reminded
me of problems or potentials that I failed
to notice in my design… I learnt that it is
by responding to real-life situations that
the act of creating architecture takes on
its real significance. Her help has been an
enlightenment.”mentoring-tomorrows-architects (4)

 

“IT WAS A VERY RARE RELATIONSHIP WITH YANG ZHAO.
HE WAS NOT AN EMPLOYEE, NOT A STUDENT, NOT A
FRIEND, BUT SUDDENLY WE HAD A DEEP RELATIONSHIP.
WITHOUT THE ROLEX ARTS INITIATIVE, WE WOULD NOT
HAVE MET. HE IS A VERY NICE MAN. HE HAS HIS
OWN CULTURE AND I FEEL CHINA HAS A VERY LONG
HISTORY. HE HAS SOMETHING TO BRING.” KAZUYO SEJIMA

“IN GLORIA’S WORK AND ATTITUDE I SENSE A KEEN
INTEREST IN THE PHYSICAL EXPERIENCE OF
ARCHITECTURE, WHICH MAKES IT EXCITING FOR
ME TO COLLABORATE WITH HER.” PETER ZUMTHOR

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MENTOR AND PROTÉGÉ IN
ARCHITECTURE 2014–2015

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ARCHITECTURE
ADVISORS

The Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative
acknowledges the generosity and wisdom of
the architects who have served as mentors
and members of its Advisory Boards. They are
Daniel Libeskind, Sir David Chipperfi eld, Frank
Gehry, Álvaro Siza, Kazuyo Sejima and Ry e
Nishizawa.
“IN GLORIA’S WORK AND ATTITUDE I SENSE A KEEN
INTEREST IN THE PHYSICAL EXPERIENCE OF
ARCHITECTURE, WHICH MAKES IT EXCITING FOR
ME TO COLLABORATE WITH HER.” PETER ZUMTHOR
rolexmentorprotege.com

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A CULTURE OF EXCELLENCE

Neither architects nor watchmakers can rest on
their earlier successes: they must be dedicated
to driving their work forward and to bringing
on new solutions, technologically and aesthetically.
In continually following this quest, they
build a history of innovation while striving for
excellence. All these principles are embedded
in the culture of Rolex – in watchmaking, in its
management style, in its branding, and in every
area of its activity, including the buildings it
commissions.

A CULTURE OF EXCELLENCE In giving its support to the 14TH International
Architecture Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia,
Rolex celebrates the achievements of contemporary
architecture worldwide and pays homage
to an art form which, like watchmaking, requires
a seamless blend of technical perfection, functionality
and beauty.

rolex.com