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Sensing Spaces: Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura

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A video of Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, made by Royal Academy of Arts for its exhibition ‘Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined’ in 2014.

Learn more about architects Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura, whose work appears in the Royal Academy exhibition ‘Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined’.

For more information on the exhibition see royalacademy.org.uk/sensingspaces

Álvaro Siza Vieira:

Álvaro Siza Vieira is a Portuguese architect, and architectural educator. Siza was born in Matosinhos, a small coastal town near Porto. He graduated in architecture in 1955, at the former School of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, the current FAUP – Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto. He completed his first built work (four houses in Matosinhos) even before ending his studies in 1954, the same year that he first opened his private practice in Porto. Siza Vieira taught at the school from 1966 to 1969, returning in 1976. In addition to his teaching there, he has been a visiting professor at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University; the University of Pennsylvania; Los Andes University of Bogota; and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

Along with Fernando Távora, he is one of the references of the Porto School of Architecture where both were teachers. Both architects worked together between 1955 and 1958. Another architect he has collaborated with is Eduardo Souto de Moura, e.g. on Portugal’s flagship pavilions at Expo ’98 in Lisbon and Expo 2000 in Hannover, as well as on the Serpentine Pavillon 2005. Siza’s work is often described as “poetic modernism”; he himself has contributed to publications on Luis Barragán.

Among Siza’s earliest works to gain public attention was a public pool complex (named Piscinas de Marés) he created in the 1960s for Leça da Palmeira, a fishing town and summer resort north of Porto. Completed in 1966, both of the two swimming pools (one for children, the other for adults) as well as the building with changing rooms and a cafe are set into the natural rock formation on the site with unobstructed views of the sea. In 1977, following the revolution in Portugal, the city government of Évora commissioned Siza to plan a housing project in the rural outskirts of the town. It was to be one of several that he would do for SAAL (Serviço de Apoio Ambulatório Local), the national housing association, consisting of 1,200 low-cost, housing units, some one-story and some two-story row houses, all with courtyards. He was also a member of the team which reconstructed Chiado, the historic center of Lisbon destroyed by a fire in 1988.

Most of his best known works are located in his hometown Porto: the Boa Nova Tea House (1963), the Faculty of Architecture (1987–93), and the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art (1997). Since the mid-1970s, Siza has been involved in numerous designs for public housing, public pools, and universities. Between 1995 and 2009, Siza has been working on an architecture museum on Hombroich island, completed in collaboration with Rudolf Finsterwalder. Most recently, he started coordinating the rehabilitation of the monuments and architectonic heritage of Cidade Velha (Old Village) in Santiago, an island of Cape Verde.

Commissioned after winning an international competition in 2010, Siza and Granada-based Juan Domingo Santos unveiled designs for a new entrance and visitors center at the Alhambra in 2014.

In July 2014 Siza announced his decision to donate the large part of his architectural archive to the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal, Canada, in order to make his materials “accessible alongside the work of other modern and contemporary architects”, while also giving specific project archives to the Fundação Gulbenkian in Lisbon and Fundação de Serralves in Porto, Portugal.

Eduardo Souto de Moura:

Eduardo Elísio Machado Souto de Moura is a Portuguese architect. Along with Fernando Távora and Álvaro Siza, he is one of the alumni of the Porto School of Architecture, where he was appointed Professor. Souto de Moura was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2011 and the Wolf Prize in Arts in 2013.

Souto de Moura was born in Porto, and studied sculpture before switching to architecture at the School of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, the current FAUP – Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto, and receiving his degree in 1980. From 1974 to 1979 he worked with Álvaro Siza Vieira at his architectural practice, who encouraged him to start his own firm.

He began his career as an independent architect in 1980, after winning a design competition for the Casa das Artes, a cultural center with an auditorium and an exhibition gallery in the gardens of a neo-classical mansion, in his native city of Porto. However, Souto de Moura collaborated with Siza on the Portuguese pavilion at the Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany, and Serpentine Gallery’s annual summer pavilion in 2004.

Souto de Moura’s early commissions were often modest residential houses, mainly in his native country. Later, he was commissioned with shopping centers, schools, art galleries, and a cinema, in countries including Spain, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland. Between 1989 and 1997, Souto de Moura spent eight years on the restoration of Santa Maria do Bouro, a half-destroyed 12th-century monastery in Amares, transforming it into a Pousada.

From 1981 to 1990, Souto de Moura was assistant professor at his alma mater, and was later appointed Professor at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Porto. He has been visiting professor at the architectural schools of Geneva, Paris-Belleville, Harvard University, Dublin, ETH Zurich and Lausanne, and has participated in numerous seminars and given many lectures both in Portugal and abroad. His work has appeared in various publications and exhibitions.

On 28 March 2011, it was announced that Moura is the 2011 Pritzker Prize winner, architecture’s highest honor. He is the second Portuguese architect to win the honor, after Álvaro Siza. The prize was supposed to be presented in April in Washington DC but the winner was prematurely leaked by a Spanish news organisation. The prize was awarded for his work including Estádio Municipal de Braga, the Burgo Tower in Porto and the Paula RegoMuseum in Cascais. On 3 January 2012, it was announced Moura is the 2013 Wolf Prize in Arts winner along with Robert S. Langer.

He has been also awarded: The Pessoa prize in 1998; the António de Almeida Foundation prize; the Antero de Quental Foundation prize; first prize in the Competition for the Restoration of Giraldo Square in Évora, Portugal; first prize in the Competition for the CIAC Pavilions; first prize in the Competition for a Hotel in Salzburg, Austria; first prize in the “IN/ARCH 1990 for Sicily” Competition; the Secil Prize for Architecture; second prize in the “Architecture and Stone” ideas competition; honourable mention for his Miramar House in the Secil Architectural Prizes; honourable mention for both the SEC Cultural Centre and the Alcanena House in the National Architectural Prizes. On 14 July 2011, Souto de Mouro received an Honoris Causa doctorate by the Faculty of Architecture and Arts at the Lusíada University of Porto.

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