This phrase caught my eye during Diébédo Francis Kéré's speech at the AAICO (Architecture and Art International Congress), which took place in Porto, Portugal from September 3 to 8. After being introduced by none other than Eduardo Souto de Moura, Kéré began his speech with the simplicity and humility that guides his work. His best-known works were built in remote places, where materials are scarce and the workforce is of the residents themselves, using local resources and techniques.
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Eduardo Souto de Moura (born 25 July 1952), the Portuguese architect that won the 2011 Pritzker Prize, is known for designs that are formally simple yet serious and at times, dramatic, created through his thoughtful use of colors and materials. His architecture is both versatile and consistent, contextual yet universal, and rarely affected by current trends or styles.
Portuguese architectural photographer João Morgado shared with us a series of images from Álvaro Siza's latest project, the Capela do Monte. This chapel is located in Barão de São João, in the Algarve region of Portugal. Part of the Monte da Charneca complex, Capela do Monte was commissioned in 2016 by a Swiss-American couple residing there.
A pure volume, slightly lit, sits in the middle of a garden. It is a private chapel in Quinta de St. Ovídio in Lousada, built between 1989 and 2001 and designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira. The project starts from a path, where you can see the prismatic white volume from afar. As you pass through the building and some steps, you arrive at the entrance square. Here you will notice that Siza differentiated the main facade, in stone, from the other three, in white painted concrete, giving it importance.
To avoid hyperrealistic renderings we have witnessed the emergence of other options for architectural representation which seduce the viewer, not for their overwhelming resemblance to reality but rather the opposite, its resemblance to everyday life's textures presented through unpretentious drawings inspired by collage, watercolor, and painting. Digital collage and other similar representation tools have gained more popularity when discussing how architecture can be communicated.
The architectural approach of 2011 Pritzker Prize-winner Eduardo Souto de Moura can be difficult to summarize. His convictions on matters of aesthetics and design are strongly held, but also highly individual and at times even unusual. In his work, this translates to buildings that are enigmatic, yet not flashy—in the words of the 2011 Pritzker Prize jury, “His buildings have a unique ability to convey seemingly conflicting characteristics—power and modesty, bravado and subtlety, bold public authority and sense of intimacy—at the same time.” In the latest interview from his “City of Ideas” series, Vladimir Belogolovsky speaks to Souto de Moura to probe his architectural mind and understand the thinking behind these powerful yet modest works.
This week, the Portuguese center for architecture Casa da Arquitectura (House of Architecture) celebrates the opening of its new premises in Matosinhos, Porto. In order to mark the occasion, the architecture museum has planned three days full of activities from the 17th to the 19th of November, with guided tours, performance, talks, music and films.
Housing is certainly one of the most interesting themes that present itself to the architect, after all designing a residence allows the study of the usage and customs of human beings according to their culture, desires and daily life. Each project brings a new customer and, with it, an unprecedented challenge.
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