2011 Pritzker Laureate Eduardo Souto de Moura facing Unemployment?

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

Despite being awarded the 2011 Pritzker Prize, Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura has admitted difficulty in finding work. In a recent interview with El Mundo, the 59 year-old, Porto-based architect stated that he would prefer to work in his homeland, or even nearby in Spain, but the current economic crisis has him extending his search to other parts of Europe, mainly Italy and France.

Currently immersed in the worst crisis in recent history, became the third country within the 17-country eurozone in need of financial rescue to avoid bankruptcy, following Greece and Ireland. In February, the country’s unemployment rate reached new heights at 15 percent. Meanwhile, as Souto de Moura pointed out, Spain seems to be struggling even more with the possibility of becoming the fourth member of the eurozone in need of a bailout. Spain’s astonishing 23.6 percent unemployment rate has Bloomberg Businessweek referring to it as the greatest European country in danger. Continue reading for more.

Since opening his own practice in 1980, Souto de Moura has completed over sixty buildings, mostly in Portugal, and others scattered throughout Spain, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and Switzerland. He was honored with the 2011 Pritzker Prize for his iconic works, such as the Braga Stadium (2004) and Casa das Histórias Paula Rego (2011).

This prestigious honor would have many assuming that Souto de Moura would experience a surge in commissions. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Do not be mistaken, the award has caused a sizable increase to the number of invitations to competitions abroad; however, he describes that he must still compete with “another 400 or 600 architects.” Throughout Souto de Moura’s career, he has won approximately one out of every eight contests with only one in every four of those where actually realized.

As reported by El Mundo, Souto de Moura stated, “Portuguese architecture became a fashionable profession before the crisis, with more than twenty schools training more than 2,000 architects each year. After the boom, now many are going to Venezuela, USA, Canada, France and Switzerland.” Remember our recent report concerning the possible closure of the prestigious Faculty of Architecture at theTechnical University of Lisbon (UTL)?

As the worlds economies are shifting, everyone is watching for the new emerging powers. According to the recent 2012 Wealth Report by Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank, the top ten largest GDPs predicted by 2050 will be India, China, the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria, Russia, Mexico, Egypt and Japan. The survey was published as India hosted the BRICS summit of emerging economies, which included some of the world’s fastest-growing economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

We would love to hear from you. Where are you located? What are you currently experiencing?

Reference: EL MUNDO.es, Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Times, BBC News, Knight Frank, CNN, The Atlantic

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "2011 Pritzker Laureate Eduardo Souto de Moura facing Unemployment?" 11 Apr 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=225046>
  • common_cents

    Im actually surprised he is still ‘sitting put’ with regards to work in his country.As architects we have got to adapt to the changes and shifts.It doesnt matter how gifted you are.In order to survive you’ve got to adapt (no brainer here).Firms like Foster are exploring possibilities,establishing contacts for work all over the world.The emerging economies will be looking to enhance their built environments.The world is changing and architects need to adapt to those changes.You cant be sitting in Europe with the current crisis,while there are ripe opportunities around the world.That is one of the challenges facing the 21st century architect

  • http://www.lousinhaarquitectos.pt Paulo Lousinha

    The crises are really making us think what could be the next step to go forward. But what kind of hope can we have if even the 2011 Pritzker Laureate are facing the absence of commissions? Actually Portugal go through a crisis, and as far as I know, Eduardo Souto de Moura is not alone: a national newspaper – http://www.publico.pt/Sociedade/a-crise-chegou-a-arquitectura-e-os-ateliers-ja-estao-a-despedir-1530198 – report that three months ago.

  • rodrigo bocater

    well, this is not a surprise, especially talking of portugal. Here in Brazil we are getting more and more Europeans seeking work. they mostly trying to get out of the crisis that causes a huge absence of positions in offices.

    the good thing is that the amount of people looking for architetural formation is getting bigger each day, by a popularization of the profession that´s happening every year. but this causes a big number of professionals without the same number of job opportunities.
    this happens especially in europe, that have smaller countries and stabilized economy and ultimately leads to competitiveness and a part of architects seeking work outside going to developing continents like in south america, asia and africa.

    • c d v

      so true, I left Europe 2,5 years ago, and living in the americas right now. The Netherlands used to be a place where someone with a master in both architecture and engineering, like me would find a job within a week. Now over 30% of the architects lost their job and all offices are struggling to survive, even the biggest names in the game.

      • Tom Peeters

        Strange, in Belgium we don’t have this problem (for now )
        The architecture magazines are still filled with offices begging for more people

    • Matheus

      True! Lately we’ve been receving many emails from european architects seeking for work. Specially from Italy, Portugal and Spain.
      I think would be nice to have a great network for spread and share architectural jobs with them.

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  • ste

    lower down the fees, come to malaysia!

  • Chris

    de Portzamparc redux? I don’t really feel sorry for the guy though, “preferring” to work in ones own (miniscule) country and having to go abroad is hardly as bad as wanting to do halfway interesting buildings and instead having to slap together strip malls to survive, as so many architects are forced to do at the moment.

  • common_cents

    Its such a pity that an architect of De Moura stature is struggling to find work.As the article stated,economies are shifting.Brazil,indonesia,India etc are becoming hotspots for architecture.All the big guns of architecture are already in these places establishing themselves.You simply cannot be sitting in portugal and expect work to be flowing,especially in the current crises.Im in Australia atm,graduated 2 yrs ago and still havent found work.I’ve started researching on work prospects in brazil.

  • uros s

    Greetings from Serbia! Some predictions say that in the following decade Serbia would experience significant economic growth, increased number of investments, and due to that it will become more opened to bigger projects and large urban transformations.

  • Rafael Bergés

    I’m not completely surprised about this since Eduardo doesn’t even have a website or any contact info online. I love him and think he’s an extraordinary architect but maybe he should really start networking a little better. As a pritzker prize winner it makes sense that he should be getting international commissions. Portugal and Spain are doing awful right now, maybe he should look towards Brazil or Asia.

  • jeb

    He can come work for me as an intern

    • RH

      the harsh reality is that many skilled and well educated architects work for minimum salaries or even worse as an almost unpaid intern in Europe these days.

  • some archiect

    Souto de moura has a web site?

  • gede

    No. He’s an hipster, had one before it was cool and now he’s too good to have one.
    He has plenty of work outside Portugal, he’s just crying for attention…