Spotlight: Álvaro Siza

One of the most highly regarded architects of his generation, Portugese architect Álvaro Siza (born 25 June 1933) is known for his sculptural works that have been described as "poetic modernism." When he was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1992, Siza was credited as being a successor of early modernists: the jury citation describes how "his shapes, molded by light, have a deceptive simplicity about them; they are honest."

Spotlight: Álvaro Siza - More Images+ 10

via Álvaro Siza

Born in Matosinhos near Porto, as a child Siza wanted to become a sculptor, a predilection that shows itself in his work to this day. However, a trip to Barcelona convinced him to become an architect when he experienced the work of Antoni Gaudí. This sculptural architecture he then knits into its context, connecting his buildings with the site and the culture masterfully.

Leça Swimming Pools. Image © Wikimedia user Christian Gänshirt licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

A well-known quote by Siza asserts that "architects don't invent anything, they just transform reality," and this might explain the logic behind Siza's restrained style. His work builds on the established models of the Modernists who held sway at the start of his career—and even while the reputation of Modernism has risen and fallen in the years since, Siza has remained largely unaffected by the experimental and transitory movements of the period, instead preferring to subtly, gradually transform his style over the decades.

Expo'98 Portuguese National Pavilion. Image © Flickr user Pedro Moura Pinheiro

Siza first gained recognition in the 1960s with his Leça Swimming Pools and his Boa Nova Tea House, and has remained hugely influential ever since: among his most respected works is his gravity-defying Portuguese National Pavilion for the 1998 Expo; his Fundação Iberê Camargo was a joint winner of the first ever Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) in 2014; and at the 2012 Venice Biennale he both completed an exhibition pavilion and was awarded the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement.

Fundação Iberê Camargo. Image © Grazielle Bruscato

See all of Álvaro Siza's Works featured on ArchDaily via the thumbnails below, and more coverage below those:

Spotlight: Álvaro Siza - More Images+ 10

Álvaro Siza wins Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement

Siza's Iberê Camargo Foundation and Herzog & de Meuron's 1111 Lincoln Road Win Inaugural MCHAP Award

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Where Alvaro Meets Aldo / Inside Portugal's Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale

Interview with Álvaro Siza: "Beauty Is the Peak of Functionality!"

AR Issues: Architects Don't Invent, They Transform

Reflections On Álvaro Siza's Seminal Quinta da Malagueira Housing Scheme

Alturas de Macchu Picchu: Martín Chambi - Álvaro Siza at work

Travel Diary: Álvaro Siza and Carlos Castanheira by Fernando Guerra

Portraits of Álvaro Siza by Fernando Guerra

Video: The Obsolescence of a Building, an Interview with Álvaro Siza

Video: Alvaro Siza Denounces Architecture's "Hyper-Specialization"

Álvaro Siza's Full Personal Archive Released for Free Online Browsing

Boa Nova Tea House by Alvaro Siza Through the Lens of Fernando Guerra

Auditorium Theatre of Llinars del Valles Through the Lens of Fernando Guerra

Nadir Afonso Contemporary Art Museum by Álvaro Siza Opened its Doors in Chaves, Portugal

St. Ovídio Chapel By Álvaro Siza Through The Lens Of Fernando Guerra

Alvaro Siza's New Church of Saint-Jacques de la Lande Through the Lens of Ana Amado

Alvaro Siza's Galician Center of Contemporary Art Through the Lens of Fernando Guerra

Video: Alvaro Siza sings The Beatles

About this author
Cite: Rory Stott. "Spotlight: Álvaro Siza" 25 Jun 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

The Building on the Water. Image © Fernando Guerra |  FG+SG


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