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Alvaro Siza

Alvaro Siza

A key figure in modern Portuguese architecture, Alvaro Siza Vieira (1933) graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Porto in 1955. 

Continuing the work of the great rationalists, going back to traditional materials and methods but with a distinctive original touch, Siza gained experience working with Fernando Tàvora (from whom he learned “a sensitive, attentive interpretation of the story told by anthropology and topography”). 

He then opened his own studio and began a long teaching career (in Switzerland, the United States and Colombia). 

His first famous constructions were the teahouse and restaurant in Boa Nova (1963) and the swimming pools in Leca da Palmeira (1966). As his career proceeded he began to reject the inherited figure of the architect as divine craftsman capable of distinguishing useful and important elements from those which are apparently secondary, going as far as to say that “everything that exists is important, and nothing can be excluded from reality”

The result was countless sketches, drawn with great skill, the subject of study and of numerous exhibitions: drawings so accurate that “they invented not only a form of calligraphy but a method of progressively approaching design” (Gregotti), capable of imagining a poetic “in which the possible measures itself against the real” (Angelillo).

His many works include homes all over Portugal built from 1964 onwards; Banco Borges & Irmão in Vila do Conde (1986), the Centre for Advanced Studies in Education in Setúbal (1994); the Faculty of Architecture in Porto (1995) and the Aveiro campus library (1994). 

Projects outside Portugal include, in Spain, the Galician Museum of Contemporary Art (1993) and the Faculty of Information Science (2000) in Santiago de Compostela; in Italy, Siza is working with E. Souto de Moura on plans for Municipio Station on the Naples metro line and redevelopment of the square; in London, he built the Serpentine Gallery pavilion in Hyde Park in 2005; and in Rotterdam, he designed the New Orleans Tower (2010).

His plans for the headquarters of the Iberê Camargo Foundation in Porto Alegre, Brazil (completed in 2008) won him a Golden Lion in Venice (2002), followed by an award for lifetime achievement ten years later. He was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1992. 

Alvaro Siza famous projects

- Plan for Municipio Station on the metro line (with E. Souto de Moura), Naples (Italy)

- New Orleans Tower, Rotterdam (the Netherlands), 2010

- Iberê Camargo Foundation in Porto Alegre (Brazil), 2008

- Serpentine Gallery Pavilion (with E. Souto de Moura), Hyde Park, London (Great Britain), 2005

- Faculty of Information Science, Santiago de Compostela (Spain), 2000

- Contemporary Art Museum, Porto (Portugal), 1999

- Portuguese Pavilion at Expo ‘98, Lisbon (Portugal), 1998

- Office of the Chancellor of Alicante University (Spain), 1998

- Malagueira District, Evora (Portugal), 1997

- Faculty of Architecture, Porto (Portugal), 1996

- Centre for Advanced Studies in Education, Setúbal (Portugal), 1994

- University campus library, Aveiro (Portugal), 1994

- Galician Museum of Contemporary Art, Santiago de Compostela (Spain), 1993

- Homes in Van der Venne Park, the Hague (the Netherlands), 1988

- Banco Borges & Irmão branch, Vila do Conde (Portugal), 1986

- Bouca and S. Victor homes, Porto (Portugal), 1977-1979

- Quinta da Conceicao Park pool and waterfront, Leça da Palmeira (Portugal), 1965-1966

- Restaurant and teahouse, Boa Nova, Leça de Palmeira (Portugal), 1963

Official web site

www.alvarosizavieira.com

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