Álvaro Siza Architect

by | 29. Aug 2012

Exhibitions and Events

There are two different words in Portuguese that mean ‘to look’ and ‘to see and understand’…. The tool of the architect is to be able to see.
/Álvaro Siza

Photo: arcspace

Álvaro Siza’s eloquent body of work is testimony to his belief that “Architecture is an art.” His inspired understanding of spatial relationships, considerations of scale, sensitivity to material and texture and use of light as an expressive and active element transforms the natural and built landscape with depth and originality.

He often selects the simplest of materials – stucco, tile, wood and marble – to create buildings that are sublime, joyful and timeless, places of subtlety, balance and humanity.

Photo: arcspaceSerralves FoundationPorto, Portugal

Photo: arcspaceRectory BuildingUniversity of AlicanteAlicante, Spain

Photo: arcspaceRectory BuildingUniversity of AlicanteAlicante, Spain

Photo: arcspaceFaculty of Information StudiesUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de Compostela, Spain

The exhibition introduces visitors to Siza’s vision through drawings, models and photographs of five selected projects; The Water Tower (1988-1989) Aveiro, Portugal, the Santa Maria Church (1990-1996) Marco de Canaveses, Portugal, the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion (2005) London, England, the Iberê Camargo Foundation (1998-2006) Porto Alegre, Brazil and the, as yet unbuilt, Mário Bahia House (1983) Gondomar, Portugal.

Set on the University of Aveiro campus, the Water Tower accomplishes its practical function while projecting an engaging minimalist fragility.

Photo: arcspace

The reinforced concrete tank stands on a supporting panel next to a hollow cylinder that also serves as a support as well as a container for tubing and stairs. The construction rises over a reflecting sheet of water. Exquisitely balancing the striking verticality of the structure with the horizontality of the landscape, the asymmetry of the Water Tower allows viewers to experience its form in a different way depending on the angle from which the tower is observed.

Photo: arcspace

One of Siza’s masterpieces is undeniably the Santa maria Church in Marco de Canavezes, a space where he assigns a sacred dimension, as it were, to the light.

Photo: arcspace

Since 2000, the Serpentine Gallery has commissioned the building of a three-month temporary pavilion near the neoclassical brick building housing the modern and contemporary art gallery.

Siza and fellow Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura were invited to create the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion for 2005.

Photo: arcspace

The lattice-wood structure, with the lower part open to a height of 1.3 meters and the rest of the pavilion covered with a polycarbonate, allows light to stream in and through the pavilion’s grid-work. Light sources centered in each wooden square were run by solar-powered batteries, giving the building a luminous aura at night.

Photo:Tereza SizaFrom the book Architecture Now! 4

The Iberê Camargo Foundation’s undulating outlines resonate harmoniously with its natural setting, scenically adjacent to the Guaíba River.

Photo: arcspace

In response to the challenge of designing a museum for the collection of the noted Brazilian painter on a small, narrow and steep plot of land near a busy avenue, Siza created a vertical construction, with three floors of exhibition space and then the car park on the top, rising above the avenue itself.

Sketch courtesy Álvaro Siza

Siza sketches constantly and often his sketches are incorporated into the decor of his buildings.

Since I was a boy….I have made drawings…. Drawings, landscapes, portraits and travel sketches, have always kept me busy. I don’t think that it has a direct relation with architecture but it is a good way to develop acuity of vision
/Álvaro Siza, in conversation with Philip Jodidio

Sketch courtesy Álvaro Siza

This is the first museum exhibition in the US showing Pritzker Prize winner Álvaro Siza’s work. Siza’s long-time colleague, collaborator and friend, the noted architect Carlos Castanheira, directed the onsite installation.


CITYSanta Monica, California