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University of Porto Famous Alumni

Alexandre Alves Costa

Fotografia de Alexandre Alves Costa Alexandre Alves Costa
Architect and university teacher

Alexandre Vieira Pinto Alves Costa was born in Porto on 2 February 1939.

Here, he attended the Architecture course at the Porto School of Fine Arts, after which he trained at the National Laboratory of Civil Engineering with Nuno Portas, having obtained the diploma as an architect in 1966.

In the sixties, in addition to the training in architecture, he became involved in the political struggle against the fascist dictatorship. He became a member of the Portuguese Communist Party (1961-1968) and was arrested three times by the secret police, PIDE. In 1962, he joined the 1st National Secretariat of Students along with Jorge Sampaio and António Taborda.

Since 1970, Alexandre Alves Costa practices as a free-lance architect. In 1972, he began his university teaching career in the fields of Project and History of Portuguese Architecture.

Conjunto HabitacionalAmong others, he collaborated with architects Álvaro Siza Vieira, Camilo Cortesão, José Luís Gomes, J. M. Soares, A. Corte Real and Sérgio Fernandez and with the City Council of Porto, producing projects for the various municipalities, including Porto, Matosinhos, Coimbra, Viseu and Lisbon.

In the post 25 April 1974 period, he was part of the Coordinating Committee of SAAL/North sector, responsible for the Planning and Project Support. He was an adviser to the official Portuguese delegation to the United Nations Conference on Human Settlement - habitat, Vancouver, Canada (1976). During Porto 2001 European Capital of Culture, Alexandre Alves Costa was one of the four winners of the competition for ideas for the renovation of downtown Porto (East Zone B).

Candidatura de Alexandre Alves Costa ao Prémio Jean TschumiAt the University of Porto, he was a member of the Interim Committee of the Architecture Course at FAUP, in 1979, held the positions of Chairman of the Governing Board and Chairman of the Scientific Board, and was in charge of the 1st Doctoral Programme in Architecture. He is currently a retired Full Professor of the U.Porto. At the University of Coimbra and University of Minho, in 1988 and 1997, respectively, he was a member of the interim committees of the Architecture courses.

Alexandre Alves Costa has also dedicated part of his time to writing. He has authored works published in journals (Lótus International, 9H, Domus, Wonen Tabk, Casabella, Architecti, Jornal Arquitectos, Monumentos, and Estudos/Património), was invited to join the editorial boards of the University of Porto"Boletim da Universidade do Porto", Revista "Monumentos", the General Directorate for Buildings and National Monuments, and is a member of the Editorial Board of "JA- Jornal Arquitectos" of the Association of Architects. In 2005, the articles he had published before, along with some unpublished work, were collected in three books: "Application to the Jean Tschumi Award" (2005), "Introduction to the Study of Portuguese Architecture and other Texts" (2007) and "Dated Texts" (2007).

He has participated in conferences and lectures, in Portugal and abroad (Spain, Italy, France, Holland, Morocco, Angola, China and Canada), about teaching, criticism and history of architecture.

He has supervised workshops in the field of architecture and urban design project at the University of Coimbra, Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa, and the College of Architects of Malaga and in the Association of Architects.

He participated in the film "Direito à Habitação" [The Right to a House], aired by RTP in 1976. He has also participated in design and architecture exhibitions and in jury panels in the field of Architecture, in both Portugal and abroad.

Imagem do Mosteiro de Santa Clara-a-Velha, CoimbraAmong the prizes he has received over the years, some are noteworthy: the Grand Prize of the International Association of Art Critics /Ministry of Culture of 2008 (AICA Award / MC 2008'), also awarded to Sérgio Fernandez for the modern and quality work developed by both architects, the historical accuracy of their interventions in heritage, for example, in the Heritage Rehabilitation Project of Idanha-a-Velha village, or in the recent rehabilitation of Santa Clara-a-Velha Convent, in Coimbra, and also his activity as a teacher of Architecture, namely at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto.

On 21 January 2010, Alves Costa gave his last formal lecture at FAUP, in the Fernando Távora Auditorium, although he continued to run the Thesis Project Seminar of the Doctoral course, to coordinate the publications of this faculty and to teach at the University of Coimbra. This ceremony took place in a crowded room and was attended by his friend Mariano Gago, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, architects Álvaro Siza Vieira and Helena Roseta, and his godfather, the film director Manoel de Oliveira.

15 April 2011 marked the inauguration of the exhibition "Alexandre Alves Costa. A Viagem. À memória de Fernando Távora", held at the Museum of Architecture of FAUP, organised by the Department of Architecture of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of Coimbra.

Currently, Alexandre Alves Costa is working in partnership with Sérgio Fernandez in the renovation of the facades and ground floor of Terreiro do Paço, in Lisbon, and in the restoration of the Sala dos Capelos, of the University of Coimbra.

He lives in Porto, where he married, and has three daughters, one of which followed in her father’s footsteps, and seven grandchildren.
(Universidade Digital / Gestão de Informação, 2010)

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