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Past Event
Tuesday, April 5
5:30pm - 6:30pm
Rice Architecture Lecture: Fuensanta Nieto

About the Event

Fuensanta Nieto, co-founder, Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos, and professor, Universidad Europea de Madrid, presents the lecture “Variations on the Museum Idea” on Tuesday, April 5, at 5:30 p.m. as part of the 2021-2022 Rice Architecture Lecture Series, Building Identities, Spring Edition.

Nieto will present her in-person lecture in Farish Gallery, MD Anderson Hall. To livestream the event, please visit our YouTube page on the day and time of the lecture.

Museums are, due to their link with culture and their civic vocation, buildings that give the opportunity and have the implicit mission of regenerating or transforming the context in which they are located. The architecture of the museum oscillates between the interpretation of a place and its history, on the one hand, and the spatial response to specific requirements, in other words, between memory and invention. The buildings presented in this lecture are the consequence not only of their cultural and geographical peculiarities, but also of different organizational structures and the scope of the agents involved. Our works, designed or built in different countries, coincide in the search for a balance between the conceptual idea, its spatial structure and the creation of a public space. They are the consequence of diverse and heterogeneous circumstances that are nevertheless related to each other, configuring a personal and imaginary map of variations on the idea of museum.

Fuensanta Nieto has worked as an architect since graduating from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and the Graduate School of Architecture and Planning at Columbia University in New York in 1983. She is a founding partner of Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos and a professor at the Universidad Europea de Madrid. Fuensanta Nieto lectures on architecture and participates in juries and symposia at various institutions around the world. From 1986 to 1991 she was co-director of the architectural journal ARQUITECTURA, published by the Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid.

Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos was founded in 1985 by Fuensanta Nieto and Enrique Sobejano and has offices in Madrid and Berlin. Along with being widely published in international magazines and books, the firm’s work has been exhibited at the Biennale di Venezia in 2000, 2002, 2006, and 2012, at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, in 2006, at the Kunsthaus in Graz in 2008 and at the MAST Foundation in Bologna in 2014. They are the recipients of the 2007 National Prize for Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage and the 2010 Nike Prize issued by the Bund Deutscher Architekten (BDA), as well as the Aga Khan Award for Architecture (2010), the Piranesi Prix de Rome (2011), the European Museum of the Year Award (2012), the Hannes Meyer Prize (2012), AIA Honorary Fellowship (2015), the Alvar Aalto Medal (2015) and Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts in 2017. Their major works include the Madinat al-Zahra Museum, the Moritzburg Museum in Halle, the San Telmo Museum in San Sebastián, the Zaragoza Congress Centre, the Martin Chirino Foundation in Las Palmas, the Joanneum Museum extension in Graz, the Contemporary Art Centre in Córdoba and the Arvo Pärt Centre in Estonia. Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos is currently working on projects in several countries, among them, the extension of the Archaeologische Staatssammlung in Munich the extension of the Museo Sorolla in Madrid the Montblanc Haus in Hamburg, the Archive of the Avant-gard in Dresden and the Carmen Thyssen Musem in Girona. Four monographs have been recently published on their work: “Nieto Sobejano. Memory and Invention” (Hatje Cantz Verlag, Ostfildern, Germany, 2013), “Fuensanta Nieto, Enrique Sobejano. Architetture” (Mondadori Electa Spa, Milano, Italy, 2014), “Nieto Sobejano Arquitectura 2004-2017” (TC Cuadernos 131/132, Valencia, Spain, 2017) and “Arvo Pärt Centre & Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos - A Common Denominator” (ArchiTangle, Berlin, 2020).

Building Identities

Rice Architecture presents the spring edition of its annual lecture series, Building Identities, as a series of collective reflections and conversations that approach construction of physical structures as inseparable from the construction of human identities. Through a combination of talks, panel discussions, and student-led events, our spring programs aim to broaden our understanding of building construction and identity formation as two interrelated processes, seeking to close the gap between the social and the formal in the field of architecture and our world more broadly. Reflecting the pluralism of Houston as the most diverse city in the United States, Building Identities advances the agency of architecture in a new multicultural world. We believe this is an urgent theme for our school, our community, and our field at large.

All lectures are free and open to the public. Except for virtual events, all lectures will be held in Farish Gallery, MD Anderson Hall, Rice Architecture, unless otherwise noted, with a livestream available. For more information and to access the livestream links and virtual events registration page, visit Each lecture is available for one AIA/CES Learning Unit.

This lecture series is made possible through the generous support of the Llewelyn-Davies Sahni Fund for the Rice School of Architecture, the Betty R. and the George F. Pierce Jr., FAIA, Fund, the William B. Coleman Jr. Colloquium Fund for Architecture, the Wm. W. Caudill Lecture Series Fund, and Rice Design Alliance (RDA), the public programs and outreach arm of Rice Architecture.

Directions & Parking


Anderson Hall
Farish Gallery

United States