Portugal has unveiled the theme of its contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale: “Neighborhood – Where Alvaro Meets Aldo.” Curated by Nuno Grande, a Portugese architect, teacher, critic, and curator, and Roberto Cremascoli, an Italian architect and longtime collaborator of Álvaro Siza Vieira, the exhibition will focus on the works of both Álvaro Siza and Aldo Rossi.
The Portuguese exhibition is unique in that it will be installed on Venice’s Giudecca island, where Siza’s 1985 social housing project Campo di Marte is located. Campo di Marte is part of a larger plan on the island, which includes designs by other architects such as Aldo Rossi, and was never fully completed.
At the Expo ’98 Portuguese National Pavilion, structure and architectural form work in graceful harmony. Situated at the mouth of the Tagus River in Lisbon, Portugal, the heart of the design is an enormous and impossibly thin concrete canopy, draped effortlessly between two mighty porticoes and framing a commanding view of the water. The simple, gestural move is both weightless and mighty, a bold architectural solution to the common problem of the covered public plaza. Under the graceful touch of Álvaro Siza Vieira, physics and physical form theatrically engage one another, and simplicity and clarity elevate the pavilion to the height of modern sophistication.
It could have been a rectangular prism whose length measures forty-one meters and a half, whose width measures thirty-three meters, and whose height measures twenty-five meters. It could have been, if the projection had ended in the trace of a pure rule. It could have been almost the same: three elevated plans, each formed by three rectangular exhibitions rooms, placed at two consecutive faces and connected by ramps that run on the two other faces. Then, a four-story-high atrium rises between circulations and rooms, creating a diagonal symmetry inside the building.
Bonjour Tristesse is a social housing project designed by Portuguese Architect Álvaro Siza Vieira. Located in Berlin, the project was Siza’s first built work outside of his native country. Siza’s design offers a meaningful precedent in urban densification, demonstrating a delicate balance between contextual awareness, creative freedom, and progressive vision.
Commissioned after winning an international competition in 2010, Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieraand Granada-based Juan Domingo Santos have unveiled designs for a new entrance and visitors center at the Alhambra World Heritage site. A result of “superimposing a regular geometry over a territory of topography,” the new gate rearranges visitor access into the more than 1000-year-old monument through a series of enclosed, shaded courtyards and open, sunlit terraces.
Following to his experience at the Alhambra in 2009, Siza journaled about his envision for the new gate, stating: “…from bright sun to shadows, from warmth to coolness, from wide to intimate focus, I like to dream about my project before I set it down in any detail.”
The Boa Nova Tea House, one of Siza's earliest commissions, was awarded to him in 1956. His collaborator, Fernando Tavora, had won the competition for the project and passed it onto Alvaro Siza. Its location close to Siza's home town had its significance, especially due to the architect's intimate familiarity with the landscape. This is noticed in his incorporation of the rock formation, the ocean, and the greenery within the project, revealing a vivid understanding of the qualities of the local landscape. Alongside the Leça Swimming Pools, this project represents the foundation of Siza's architecture with a compelling regard for nature.
This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to Berlin. The twentieth century changed nearly all cities, but perhaps none more so than Berlin. From its destruction in World War II that left few historic buildings intact to its division until 1989 that brought together the architecture of two competing ideologies into one city, Berlin’s modern and contemporary architecture speaks to a past that seldom accompanies such recent additions. The city is filled with new and wonderful architecture that might not have found space in other cities in Europe. With that in mind, we were unable feature all our readers’ suggestions on the first go around. We will be adding to the list in the near future, so please add more of your favorites in the comment section below. Once again, thanks to all our readers for your help.