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Carlos Castanheira


Born in Lisbon, Carlos Castanheira (1957) is part of a generation of Portuguese architects considered the professional progeny of Alvaro Siza, with whom Castanheira worked for fourteen years and with whom he has collaborated on several occasions, including in recent years.

Graduating in architecture from the School of Fine Arts, Porto (1981), Castanheira lived in Amsterdam for almost the whole of the Eighties. He launched his professional career whilst continuing to study at the Accademia Voor Bouwkunst Van Amsterdam. In 1993 Carlos Castanheira founded his design studio Carlos Castanheira & Clara Bastai, Arquitectos Lda. alongside architect Maria Clara Bastai.

Working primarily in the residential sector, he is primarily noted for his work with timber structures and architectural components, mainly focused on construction details.
Examples include the following houses in Portugal: Casa Quinta da Buraca III (2001) and Casa Avenal (2004), both at Oliveira de Azeméis, Casa Ribeira de Abade in Gondomar (2005) and Casa Adpropeixe in Gerês (2008).
Over the years, his designs have featured his characteristic use of wood in combination with other different materials as a reflection of the interaction between built and natural worlds.

Numerous examples include the recent extension to "Barrocas House", a large property in central Portugal (2017). This project comprised the addition of a timber-clad bedroom and living room extension for the main residence, together with a pavilion to the east of the main residence. Located on the highest point of the estate and set among pine trees, the timber-clad pavilion fulfills the owner’s request for an isolated retreat to immerse himself in music and reading.
The new, elevated pavilion appears to levitate over the undulating terrain. Small concrete steps contrast with the distinctive timber building. Internally, carefully positioned windows and two terraces maximize natural light and provide a splendid view of the landscape.
As Castanheira himself said, he "treated the existing house as if it were a monument, since it was in use during the construction period".

The living room extension "became a secluded covered veranda overlooking the landscape to the west". It is a project that "imposes on the existing, affording volume, space and materiality". The new bedroom structure and roof is adapted to the levels of the existing building, integrated with it yet at the same time emphasizing its personality and contemporaneity.

Numerous projects constructed in the East in recent years include the Shihlien Chemical Industrial Factory in Huai’an, China (2014), Elite Club House (ongoing since 2015) and Chia Ching Mausoleum (2017) both in Taiwan.
Projects in partnership with Siza include the Amore Pacific Center for Research and Design (with Kim Jong Kyu, 2010) and Saya Park Art Pavilion (2018) in South Korea. A new exhibition center was created in Hangzhou, China which hosts the Chinese Academy of Art (CAA) new Bauhaus collection.

In respect of this latter project, the recent acquisition of a vast range of original works from the Bauhaus School and its centenary (1919-2019) prompted the idea of a museum to house the permanent collection, together with other temporary artworks and exhibitions.
The Siza-Castanheira project began in 2012 on the large, almost fully developed and occupied campus created by Pritzker Prize-winner Wang Shu. The design brief was to create a new 16,000 sq.m. museum on the remaining part of the triangular plot, where "urban and environmental planning restrictions determined the building’s possible footprint and volume".

The project’s internal layout has been configured to facilitate "smooth visitor flow and flexibility in the use of the spaces (...) The basement contains technical and service areas, and archives (...). The ground floor contains the entrance, public and rest areas, distribution, temporary exhibition rooms and auditoriums. (...) The top floor in this area houses the permanent Bauhaus collection exhibition." Upper floors include administration offices and workshops for young artists.
In respect of materials, the external appearance of the museum is defined by "Agra Red Sandstone from India which is used to clad the structure. Some areas, particularly inside the triangular structure, are clad in white marble. Frames are in aluminum and wood. A free-standing structure in white concrete, perpendicular to the southern boundary is used as an entrance for the general public.

Prizes awarded to Castanheira include the National Prize for Architecture in Timber several times for various projects in the housing sector. In addition, he often sits on selection and competition juries, has participated in conferences, and is involved in creating courses and architecture workshops. He has published books and catalogs, and organized exhibitions, including the Alvaro Siza exhibitions in 2009 and 2012.
Carlos Castanheira selected works and projects
- China Design Museum - Bauhaus Collection (con Alvaro Siza), Hangzhou (Cina), 2018
- Saya Park Art Pavillion (con Alvaro Siza), Gyeongsangbuk-do, (Corea del Sud), 2018
- Chia Ching Mausoleum, New Taipei City, Taiwan (Cina), 2017
- Feelviana Hotel, Viana do Castelo (Portogallo), 2017
- Espansione della residenza "Barrocas House", Estremoz (Portogallo), 2017
- Equestrian Center, Matosinhos (Portogallo), 2017
- Haishang Museum, Shangai (Cina), 2016 - in corso
- Chiado Public Space, Lisbona (Portogallo), 2015
- Elite Club House - Taifong Golf Club, Chang Hua County, Taiwan (Cina), 2015 - in corso
- Ristrutturazione uffici direzionali della Cattedrale di Porto (Portogallo), 2015
- Complesso per uffici Shihlien Chemical Industrial Factory, Huai’an (Cina), 2014
- Uffici in legno Revigrés, Águeda (Portogallo), 2013
- Fallingwater House, Loulé (Portogallo), 2013
- Casa a Costa Grande, Baião (Portogallo), 2012
- Casa da Torre Winery, Vila Nova de Famalicão (Portogallo), 2010
- Centro di ricerca e design Amore Pacific (con Alvaro Siza e Kim Jong Kyu), Yongin (Corea del Sud), 2010
- Casa Adpropeixe, Vilar da Viega, Gerês (Portogallo), 2008
- Casa Ribeira de Abade, Gondomar (Portogallo), 2005
- Casa Avenal, Oliveira de Azeméis (Portogallo), 2004
- Casa Tivinha, Oliveira de Azeméis (Portogallo), 2002
- Casa Quinta da Buraca III, Gandarinha, Oliveira de Azeméis (Portogallo), 2001
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