Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha has been awarded the 2006 Pritzker prize for his work in the city of São Paulo.

Mendes da Rocha, 77, is the second Brazilian to win the award, often considered the Nobel Prize for Architecture. The other was Oscar Niemeyer, the designer of Brasilia, who won the prize in 1988.

Mendes da Rocha won the award for 50 years of work in and around São Paulo, a city of 18 million people, including residences and boutiques for the city's wealthier citizens as well as public works.

He designed the Brazilian Museum of Sculpture, built in 1988, where he created multi-level outdoor spaces for people to relax in.

The jury praised Mendes da Rocha's modernist style. It said:

"His signature concrete materials and intelligent yet remarkably straightforward construction methods create powerful and expressive internationally recognised buildings."

Mendes da Rocha said the prize was a distinction for Brazilian and Latin American architects and reflected the importance of the architecture coming from South America.

The prize will be presented on 30 May in Istanbul. Previous winners include Norman Foster and Renzo Piano.