ArchDaily got the chance to briefly speak with Pritzker-prize winning Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura when he (along with the Porto Metro Authority) received the Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design earlier this month. His design for the Metro system in Porto, Portugal garnered high praise from the jury, with member Rahul Mehrotra explaining that the project “shows generosity to the public realm unusual for contemporary infrastructure projects.” Upon receipt of the award, the head of the Porto Metro, João Velez Carvalho, thanked Souto de Moura for his efforts in this “urban revolution” and touted Porto as a destination in which people actively and enthusiastically seek out the architecture of Souto de Moura and fellow Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza.
Souto de Moura spent a few moments with us to describe both the challenges and rewards of working on a project that saw the completion of 60 new stations constructed in 10 years within the sensitive fabric of the city of Porto—a UNESCO World Heritage site.
ArchDaily: What is your opinion of architecture prizes?
Eduardo Souto de Moura: I won’t be modest, I like describing my opinion about them because the profession is so tough and difficult that is it complicated to achieve a high level of quality. So when you’re awarded a prize it’s like a confirmation of your effort. But the other thing is that a project is not the act of an individual, it’s a collective act. When there’s a prize, the press and the people, the “anonymous people,” go see the project and talk about it, critique it. That’s what gives me the motivation to continue in the profession. And every time it gets more difficult.
The Royal Academy of Arts’ (RA) in London will soon be transformed into a multi-sensory “architectural maze” with the construction of seven installations by seven world-famous architects for the exhibit, Sensing Space: Architecture Reimagined. Participants, handpicked by curators Kate Goodwin and Drue Heinz, include Alvaro Siza, Eduardo Souto de Moura, Pezo von Ellrichshausen and Kengo Kuma.
Álvaro Siza, the Portugese architect known for his ‘poetic modernism‘ turns 80 today. Awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1992, Siza was credited as being a successor of early modernists: “his shapes, molded by light, have a deceptive simplicity about them; they are honest.”
Siza’s work has a sculptural quality to it, understandable as he had wanted to be a sculptor when he was young. However a trip to Barcelona convinced him to become an architect, after he experienced the work of Antoni Gaudí (with whom he shares a birthday). This sculptural architecture he then knits into its context, connecting his buildings with the site and the culture masterfully.
Siza first gained recognition in the 1960s with his Leça Swimming Pools, and has remained hugely influential ever since, completing a pavilion for the Venice Biennale last year. Today on his birthday, we invite you to look over his work here on ArchDaily:
Thanks to Alvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, Portugal’s two Pritzker Laureates, Sao Paulo will soon have its own temporary summer pavilion – a la the Serpentine Gallery – in the city’s most important green space: Ibirapuera Park.
In this interview by Hugo Oliveira, Álvaro Siza presents his ideas on the link between obsolescence and quality in architecture, and the role that a design’s flexibility plays in this relationship. He argues that the convent is perhaps the best example of a typology which is both fit for purpose and very flexible, allowing myriad other uses when its lifespan as a convent has ended. He also laments the current tendency to design a building for a very short period of time – intended to last only as long as it is needed for its original function. He links this tendency back to the Futurists of the early 20th century, where the idea was that “each generation makes its own environment which is later destroyed”, an idea he dismisses since “it also allows you to build badly because it only needs to last twenty years”.
You can see how Siza creates this flexibility in his own work by looking at his past projects featured on ArchDaily:
Álvaro Siza. Viagem sem Programa, on display at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia through the duration of the Venice Biennale, narrates the most personal aspects of Álvaro Siza’s work in architecture and his concept of life. In response to Siza being announced as the recipient of the 2012 Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, curators Greta Ruffino and Raul Betti, along with organizer MedicinaMentis Cultural Association, began to work closely with the Portuguese master to put together this one-of-a-kind retrospective.
The exhibition features an exclusive collection of 53 works, personally selected by the architect himself, that were developed from travel notes and sketches, along with a 38-minute video interview.
Continue after the break for more images of Álvaro Siza. Viagem sem Programa and check out our previous coverage for more information.
Alvaro Siza, winner of the 13th Venice Biennale Lifetime Achievement, created this structure in the gardens of the Arsenale, right next to another structure by Eduardo Soto de Moura that we will feature on a separate article. This follows the longtime collaboration of the two Portuguese masters.
Alvaro Siza’s structure establishes a relationship with a different aspect of Venice – that of the dense urban environment. Three faceted walls generate two intimate spaces in the middle of the garden designed for the 12th Biennale in 2012 by Piet Oudolf, a tribute to the compact urban tissue of Venice, which frames particular views of the exteriors of the Arsenale.
More photos after the break:
Recent award recipient of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement and Portuguese master architect, Álvaro Siza, will be honored with an exhibition exclusively dedicated to his most personal aspects as one of the leading players in the international design scene at the 2012 Venice Biennale. The collateral event, “Álvaro Siza. Viagem sem Programa”, will feature an exclusive collection of 53 works, personally selected by the architect himself for this event, that were developed from travel notes and sketches. The exhibit will be organized in sequential order as a narration of Siza’s work in architecture and concept of life. It will be seen as “a succession of prospects, dreams, memories and the faces of unknown persons and friends encounters in that extraordinary “Journey without a plan”, which is life itself.”
Continue after the break to learn more.
Álvaro Siza Vieira’s birthday week just got even better, as he has been awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition. The decision was made by the Board of la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, under Director David Chipperfield’s proposal. Siza will be honored at the Giardini of la Biennale, during the opening and award ceremony on August 29th, 2012.
“It is difficult to think of a contemporary architect who has maintained such a consistent presence within the profession as Álvaro Siza. That this presence is maintained by an architect that lives and works at the extreme Atlantic margin of Europe only serves to emphasize his authority and his status.”
Continue after the break to read more.
Portuguese photographer Nelson Garrido shared with us one of the most recents projects by Pritzker laureate architect Alvaro Siza in Porto, Portugal. According to the client itself, “in stark contrast to the main building’s Belle Epoque opulence, The Spa is a minimalist oasis of clean lines and white marble. Designed by acclaimed architect Alvero Siza-Vieira, the modern, zen-like space has a distinctly calming quality which promotes an immediate sense of well-being – even before a single treatment has been enjoyed.”
Enjoy the rest of the images after the break.
Coinciding with the exhibition Alturas de Macchu Picchu: Martín Chambi – Álvaro Siza at work on view at the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) for an extended run until 29 April 2012, Pritzker prize-winning architect Álvaro Siza will give a not-to-be-missed lecture on Thursday 26 April 2012 at 7 pm at the CCA. The event is a rare opportunity to hear the preeminent architect speak in person. Siza’s lecture discusses his design development of the Iberê Camargo Museum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, completed in 2008 and noted for its sculptural volumes and tight integration with a coastal escarpment. As with all of Siza’s projects, hand sketches play a key role in the design process, from massing studies to fine-tuning details. For more information, please visit here.
In 1995, Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza packed a few changes of clothes, some poetry books and a single sketchbook as he set forth to Peru. These few items were all he needed to record and interpret his voyage, allowing him to integrate his investigations into his architecture. More than a half a century earlier, Peruvian photographer Martín Chambi ventured into the peaks of Macchu Picchu were he captured a famous series of portraits of the ancient Inca ruins. His project was more political, it acted as a re-appropriation of the site by its locals, but the tools of Chambi and Siza are the same: the production of images to define a reality.
The Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA) presents Alturas de Macchu Picchu: Martín Chambi – Álvaro Siza at work – an exhibit featuring thirty-five original sketches by Álvaro Siza alongside the historic 1920s photographs by Martín Chambi, now on view at in the CCA’s Octagonal Gallery until April 22, 2012. Continue reading for more information.
Architecture photographer Fernando Guerra (FG+SG) posted this short video of the renowned Portguese architect and Pritzker laureate (1992) Alvaro Siza, while working and singing to The Beatles. He looks quite inspired!