2011 Pritzker Prize: Eduardo Souto de Moura

Eduardo Souto de Moura, 2011 Pritzker laureate, in front of the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego. Photo by Francisco Nogueira.
, 2011 Pritzker laureate, in front of the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego. Photo by Francisco Nogueira.

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.

Museu Paula Rego, Casa das Histórias, Cascais, Portugal by Eduardo Souto de Moura © FG + SG Fernando Guerra

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:

Eduardo Souto Moura, Quinta do Lago, Algarve (1984-89)
Eduardo Souto Moura, Quinta do Lago, Algarve (1984-89)
Braga Stadium by Eduardo Souto de Moura (2004) © Luis Ferreira Alves
Braga Stadium by Eduardo Souto de Moura (2004) © Luis Ferreira Alves

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.”

Burgos Tower by Eduardo Souto de Moura (2007) © Luis Ferreira Alves
Burgo Tower by Eduardo Souto de Moura (2007) © Luis Ferreira Alves
Burgos Tower by Eduardo Souto de Moura (2007) © Luis Ferreira Alves
Burgo Tower by Eduardo Souto de Moura (2007) © Luis Ferreira Alves

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.”

House Number Two, Bom Jesus by Eduardo Souto de Moura © Luis Ferreira Alves
House Number Two, Bom Jesus by Eduardo Souto de Moura © Luis Ferreira Alves

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.”

Museu Paula Rego, Casa das Histórias, Cascais, Portugal by Eduardo Souto de Moura © FG + SG Fernando Guerra
Museu Paula Rego, Casa das Histórias, Cascais, Portugal by Eduardo Souto de Moura © FG + SG Fernando Guerra

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.”

Cite: Basulto, David. "2011 Pritzker Prize: Eduardo Souto de Moura" 29 Mar 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 21 Dec 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=122929>
  • Ron

    He was the first architect that ever inspired me. I’ve been a secret fan for almost a decade now, good to see him getting such a high honor.

    • CPARCH

      SAME HERE RON, MY FIRST STUDIO PROJECT WAS USING HIS WORK AS PRECEDENT STUDY. HIS WORK HAS GREAT QUALITIES AND BUILDS OFF A TENSION THAT WORKS, ESPECIALLY WITH HIS USE OF STONE WALLS.

  • Rui Rodrigues

    Congratulations … a great honor for Portugal! A great inspiration!

  • Abhiram Sharma

    It looks like the Pritzker wants to show that it is not influenced by public opinion. It doesn’t favor the famous. Depressing fact. If only they kept themselves as grounded as the people they nominated.
    This year is a lost opportunity. And to think this was announced on Mies birthday.

    • h.a.

      lost opportunity? this man is a true master of architecture. The fact that is aside from the star system does not mean he doesn´t deserve recognition. Too many zahas and morphosis have received the prize

    • Pedro Leitão

      If anything, the Pritzker Prize has been favoring the famous and the so-called “starchitects” way too much. Thank goodness in the last 2 or 3 years they have been more thoughtful in the selection of the laureates.

      • Francisco Megre

        That’s why it’s called individual award. Only a star shines in that sky

    • tolerate

      so much for arch. tolerance :(

    • surprised

      why don’t you tolerate another opinion, evil architects?
      i think archdaily is the only site on the web which still keeps vote down option and shots down the comment. Abhiram was just presenting his opinion, for Christ sake!
      i won’t put my name – you’ll kill me :)

      • JohnSmith

        Nobody puts his/her name up on Archdaily. It would be suicidal. 90-95% of the comments are anonymous here. Not a very flattering stats I guess…

  • dutilleul

    The selection board of the Pritzker Foundation continues to impress me … An architect with a surprising and extraordinary quality, that seemed to deserve greater attention. Justice was done!

  • Allan

    Good choice. His works are mystical

  • dutilleul

    The selection board of the Pritzker Foundation continues to impress me … An architect with a surprising and extraordinary quality that seemed to deserve greater attention. Justice was done!

  • max

    Congratulations Portuguese – World’s Best Architects like for me!

  • Chris Carlton

    Very interesting! And I must admit I’ve never heard of the man before, although I am looking his work up as I type.

    I’m wondering if Holl is out of the running now? Just curious, I remember he was a favorite in 2010.

    • Ricardo Avella

      remember this is not a beauty contest… it’s architecture

      • Chris Carlton

        Oops, I must’ve gotten lost on the way in. I’m looking for the Miss Sunshine pageant, Ballroom 2?

        What the hell is that even supposed to mean.

  • http://www.mihaiserban.ro/ Miha S

    good choice if u compare to them http://bit.ly/gRjTbe just a kid :) congrats!

    • Ann

      Kid… lol