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William Mann: The Latest Architecture and News

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

In an essay and accompanying mini-documentary film by Ellis Woodman for The Architectural Review, Siza's iconic Quinta da Malagueira housing estate (1973-1977) in Évora, Portugal, is comprehensively explored and examined with a refreshingly engaging critical weight. Rather than develop multi-story housing in the sensitive landscape around the city, Siza proposed "a plan that distributed the programme between two fields composed of low-rise terraced courtyard houses." As a result, the arrangement of these structures adjust to the "undulating topography ensuring that the narrow, cobbled streets along which the houses are distributed always follow the slope."

As is made clear in the film (above), one of the remarkable aspects about the Quinta da Malagueira estate is that it is "governed by a third layer of infrastructure" which takes the form of "an elevated network of conduits that distributes water and electricity [...] much in the manner of a miniature aqueduct." For Siza, this was a logical move as it provided the cheapest means of distributing utilities around the complex. Woodman ultimately concludes that "Siza’s work at Malagueira invites a reading less as a fixed artefact and rather as one episode in the site’s ongoing transformation."

Read extracts of what Pier Vittorio Aureli, Tony Fretton, and John Tuomey (among others) have said about Siza's œuvre and approach after the break.

Architecture City Guide: Memphis

Courtesy of Flickr CC License / Sean Davis . Used under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>Creative Commons</a>
Courtesy of Flickr CC License / Sean Davis . Used under Creative Commons

This week our Architecture City Guide is heading to Memphis. Called the Bluff City, Memphis is the birthplace of Rock-n-Roll, Elvis, and the Blues. Along with the lively music scene, Memphis offers an architectural landscape that tells its history and speaks to its future. With the help of a Memphis local, Sophorn McRae, we selected twelve contemporary buildings that should not be missed when you visit the Bluff City. Limited to twelve, we could hardly include all the locals’ favorites so please leave your must not miss in the comment section following the break.

The Architecture City Guide: Memphis list and corresponding map after the break!