Siza was born in Matosinhos, Portugal, in 1933. His first work was built in 1954, before Siza had even completed his studies at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Porto (now Faculty of Architecture, University of Porto - FAUP).
Siza's greatest influence is the great modernist architect: Alvar Aalto. However, his work is also representative of what Kenneth Frampton calls "critical regionalism" - a sensitivity to traditional construction techniques and the spirit of the context. As Siza puts it:
"The relationship between nature and construction is decisive in architecture. This relationship, a permanent feature of any project, is to me a kind of obsession; it was always decisive in the course of history, and yet, today tends towards gradual extinction."
Siza's architecture escapes precise definition: it is somehow both modern and traditional; sensitive to place and yet demanding of the sensitivity of its user.
Siza's early interest in sculpture is clearly reflected in his buildings; indeed, their sculptural quality was commented upon by the 1992 Pritzker jury who named Siza Laureate: "his shapes, molded by light, have a deceptive simplicity about them; they are honest.
Try as we might to describe and frame his work, words are not enough; only by visiting and experiencing his sculpted spaces can you come to an understanding of Siza's architecture.
The following is a list of the most inspiring works of Álvaro Siza, beautifully captured by the photographs by Fernando Guerra.
Text by Romullo Baratto, translated by Vanessa Quirk.
House in South Korea - 2012
Casa na Coréia do Sul - 2012
Vitrashop Factory Hall | Weil am Rhein - 2012
Hotel Vidago Palace - 2012
Pedras Salgadas Thermal Baths – 2012
Edifício de Escritórios | Novartis Campus - 2012
Amore Pacific Campus parte III - com Carlos Castanheira & Kim Jong Kyu
Amore Pacific Campus, Álvaro Siza with Carlos Castanheira & Kim Jong Kyu - Yongin-Si, Gyeonggi-Do, South Korea
Amore Pacific Campus - Álvaro Siza with Carlos Castanheira & Kim Jong Kyu | part I
Amore Pacific Campus - Álvaro Siza with Carlos Castanheira & Kim Jong Kyu | part II
Mimesis Museum | with Carlos Castanheira & Jun Sung Kim - 2011