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 Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) has announced the 11th Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design award winners: Eduardo Souto de Moura’s Metro do Porto in Porto, Portugal, and the Northeastern Urban Integration Project in Medellín, Colombia.
When commenting on the significance of the two prize-winning projects, jury member Micahel Sorkin stated: “If there are lessons to be drawn for urban design from Medellín and Porto, I think the broader lesson has to do with the disruption of the segregation of the disciplines in the design field. Historically we have understood that Landscape Architecture sits in one place, Architecture in another, and Urban Design and Planning [in another, with all three disciplines] in constant conflict about their territorial rights. One of the things that is revolutionary about the Medellín project is that distinguishing among the disciplines is no longer possible.”
More about the prize-winning projects, courtesy of the GSD:
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.
Today, July 25th, is Eduardo Souto de Moura’s 61st birthday! With over 60 buildings designed worldwide, Souto de Moura is known for his thoughtful use of colors and materials. Although often described as a “Miesian” architect, de Moura provides local and original interpretations of Mies van Der Rohe’s modernist style.
Born in Porto, Souto de Moura enrolled at the School of Fine Arts in Porto, studying sculpture and later transferring to architecture at the University of Porto – a decision credited to a meeting with the artist Donald Judd. While still a student, Souto de Moura interned in the studio of Álvaro Siza, where he continued to work for five years until starting his own practice in 1980, on Siza’s advice. Although his first major commission was the Cultural Center of Porto, his early career included mostly private homes. Later, de Moura began to be commissioned for larger public buildings such as the the Braga Municipal Stadium (2004), the Burgo Tower (2007), and the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego (2008).
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.
Breaking news from Tel Aviv: The Wolf Foundation has announced that Pritzker Prize laureate Eduardo Souto de Moura will be honored with Israel’s prestigious Wolf Prize. The Portuguese architect was named “to reward his advancement of the craft and ideas of architecture.”
Since 1978, Wolf recipients have been annually award to honor those who have advanced the fields of art and science. Often, they are considered to be strong contenders for Nobel prizes, as about one out of every three laureates in chemistry, physics and medicine have gone to receive the Nobel.
Learn more after the break…
Architects: Eduardo Souto de Moura + Graca Correia
Location: Portalegre, Portugal
Collaborators: Ana Neto Vieira, Nuno Miguel Ferreira, Telmo Gervásio Gomes, Ricardo Cardoso, Pedro Gama, Nuno Vasconcelos
Client: Fundação Robinson
Area: 4,005 sqm
Photographs: Luis Ferreira Alves, Courtesy of Eduardo Souto de Moura + Graca Correia
Sketchbook No. 76 is the reproduction of a sketchbook of the renowned Portuguese architect and last year’s Pritzker Prize laureate, Eduardo Souto de Moura. The sketchbook was in use between September 2011 and January 2012 and records first ideas, fleeting sketches, studies, and spontaneous jottings that offer a starting point for every project but also function as a working resource. One can quite litterally experience the architectural design process and how developing existing ideas are further developed in different variants. Sketchbook No. 76 is a homage to the medium of drawing and manifests that this working method remains an essential element of the creative process.
Eduardo Souto de Moura’s structure overlooks the old buildings in front of the Arsenale from the waterfront, on the path leading to Alvaro Siza’s structure that we featured yesterday.
This structure is an exploration of material, building systems and language. The facades frame views of these old buildings, reinterpreting the existing landscape, according to the will of the viewer. According to Souto de Moura “geography becomes how we want it to be. This it the great leap of the modern movement, and as a result of postmodernism”.
The installation “reflects the evolving relationship between interior and exterior, the gradual opening up of options, and their dependance and influence on the architectural language”.
More photos after the break:
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, Portugal 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.
Portuguese architect, Eduardo Souto de Moura, was recently honored with an exhibition that took place this summer at the Álvaro Siza-designed Porto Faculty of Architecture (FAUP) which was arranged by curators André Campos and Pedro Guedes Oliveira. The exhibition, Eduardo Souto de Moura-Competitions 1979-2010, is a tribute to a specific design approach and working method. More images and exhibition information after the break.
The Braga Municipal Stadium located in Portugal was designed by 2011 Pritzker Prize winner Eduardo Souto de Moura. The ceremony for the Pritzker Prize (which we attended) was held just a few short weeks ago in New York City. Delivering a speech for the award winner, President Barack Obama spoke of Souto de Moura’s use of materials and attention to detail, specifically siting the Braga Municipal Stadium as “perhaps Eduardo’s most famous work” where he “took great care to position the stadium in such a way that anyone who couldn’t afford a ticket could watch the match from the surrounding hillside.”
Architects: Eduardo Souto de Moura
Location: Braga, Portugal
Project Year: 2003
Photographs: Leonardo Finotti
Eduardo Souto de Moura was awarded the Pritzker Prize just last week (our coverage of the ceremony here). This video takes a look inside Souto de Moura’s office in Porto and the surrounding city including his Burgo Tower which has become a landmark. Also taking a look at scale the video displays a wide variety of his work throughout Portugal in varying scales from a single family home to the Braga Stadium.
Last night we had the honor of attending the 2011 Pritzker Prize Ceremony in Washington D.C., where Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura received this important recognition.
This was the third time we attended the event (after 2009 in Buenos Aires and 2010 in New York) and it was a special evening, not only because of the renowned architects attending the event, but also for the presenting speech by President Barack Obama. Obama, a friend of the Pritzker family, delivered a short but interesting speech to Souto de Moura and the architects. Obama’s interest in architecture goes way back as we’ve heard him state that he thought he could be an architect, but as he said at the speech “I expected to be more creative than I turned out, so I had to go into politics instead”.
It’s worth mentioning that Obama referred to the Pritzker Prize as the Nobel of architecture, a common comparison that puts the importance of this recognition in context.
After several mentions to architecture, his hometown Chicago, Mies (his campaign HQ was in a Mies building), Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Jefferson’s Monticello, he mentioned that architecture is about “creating buildings and spaces that inspire us, that help us do our jobs, that bring us together, and that become, at their best, works of art that we can move through and live in. And in the end, that’s why architecture can be considered the most democratic of art forms“.
About Souto de Moura’s work he mentioned that it was “effortless and beautiful”, and he highlighted the fact that the Braga Stadium was a democratic building, as he not only served the audience but people on the outside.
After Obama and Lord Palumbo (chairman of the Pritzker jury) Eduardo Souto de Moura accepted his recognition, and said something very interesting that made me understand contemporary Portuguese architecture. He developed his work during the 1974 revolution in Portugal, after which the country required to give housing to millions of people. At that time post modernism was starting strong in the country, but that wasn´t the way to do housing (with columns and arches), which led to a late modernism that we see on his works, which in my opinion became a legacy to the new generation of Portuguese architects. More photos after the break:
The building, located in Porto, was described by the Pirtzker 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.”