Today, the Pritzker Prize laureate has been announced: Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. The 58-year-old architect based in Porto worked on his earlier years at Alvaro Siza’s office, another Pritzker Laureate (1992), and opened his own practice in 1980. Since then he has completed over sixty buildings, most of them in Portugal, and also in Spain, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and Switzerland.
Along his works we find iconic projects such as the impressive Braga Stadium (2004) and the recent Casa das Histórias Paula Rego. “During the past three decades, Eduardo Souto de Moura has produced a body of work that is of our time but also carries echoes of architectural traditions. His buildings have a unique ability to convey seemingly conflicting characteristics — power and modesty, bravado and subtlety, bold public authority and a sense of intimacy —at the same time.” - Lord Palumbo, Chairman of the jury More projects by Eduardo Souto de Moura after the break:
His stadium in Braga, Portugal was the site of European soccer championships when it was completed in 2004, and gained high praise. Nearly a million and a half cubic yards of granite were blasted from the site and crushed to make concrete for the stadium. Precise explosions of a mountain side created a hundred foot high granite face that terminates one end of the stadium. Souto de Moura describes this coexistence of the natural with the man made construction as good architecture. In his own words, “It was a drama to break down the mountain and make concrete from the stone.” The jury citation calls this work, “…muscular, monumental and very much at home within its powerful landscape.”
Another of his projects, the Burgo Tower, completed in 2007, constructed in the city where he lives and works, Porto, Portugal, is described by the jury as, “…two buildings side by side, one vertical and one horizontal with different scales, in dialogue with each other and the urban landscape.” Souto de Moura commented that “a twenty story office tower is an unusual project for me. I began my career building single family houses.”
Souto de Moura has designed numerous residences, one of which, House Number Two built in the town of Bom Jesus, was singled outby the jury for its “uncommon richness throughout the subtle banding in the concrete of its exterior walls.” Souto de Moura’s comments on the project: “Because the site was a fairly steep hill overlooking the city of Braga, we decided not to produce a large volume resting on a hilltop. Instead, we made the construction on five terraces with retainer walls, with a different function defined for each terrace– fruit trees on the lowest level, a swimming pool on the next, the main parts of the house on the next, bedrooms on the fourth, and on the top, we planted a forest.”
Regarding the Casa das Historias Museum Souto de Moura stated “After the painter Paulo Regio chose me as her architect, I was lucky to be able to choose the site. It was a fenced off forest with some open space in the middle. On the basis of the elevation of the trees, I proposed a set of volumes of varying heights. Developing this play between the artificial and nature helped define the exterior color, red concrete, a color in opposition to the green forest. Two large pyramids along the entrance axis prevent the project from being a neutral sum of boxes.” The Paulo Regio Museum completed in 2008, is cited by the jury as “both civic and intimate, and so appropriate for the display of art.”