|Álvaro Siza Vieira
Architect and professor
Álvaro Joaquim de Melo Siza Vieira was born in Matosinhos on 25th June 1933, of Júlio Siza Vieira and Cacilda Ermelinda Camacho Carneiro.
He studied Architecture at the Porto Fine Arts School from 1949 to 1955, and his first work was built in 1954. Foi colaborador de Fernando Távora entre 1955 e 1958. He worked with Fernando Távora from 1955 to 1958. He taught at the Porto Fine Arts School from 1966 to 1969, and returned to this school as Assistant Professor of 'Construction'. Álvaro Siza Vieira has been to several schools as a visiting academic. He was also a Professor at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto, where he taught his last class in October 2003.
He is the author of several national and international projects, including the Casa de Chá da Boa Nova, in Leça da Palmeira, the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto, the Library of the University of Aveiro, the Serralves Contemporary Art Museum and the well-known church in Marco de Canaveses.
In the Netherlands, he directed since 1985 the recovery plan of Zone 5, in Schliderswijk; in Spain, he authored the sketches of the Barcelona Meteorological Centre (in Villa Olímpica), of the contemporary art museum (in Galicia), and of the Faculty of Information Sciences (in Santiago de Compostela). His works have been exhibited in several cities worldwide.
Siza Vieira participated in conferences and seminars across Europe, America and Japan. He was invited to participate in international tenders, and has been awarded the first prize in Schlesisches Tor, Kreuzberg, Berlin, for the recovery of Campo di Marte, in Venice, and for the restoration of the Winkler casino and café, in Salzburg (1986).
He has been awarded several prizes and awards: the Architecture Prize of the Association of Portuguese Architects, in 1987; the Architecture Prize of the Year, awarded by the Portuguese Section of the International Association of Art Critics, in 1982. In 1988 he was awarded the golden medal of architecture, of the Colegio de Arquitectos de Madrid, the medal of the Alvar Aalto Foundation, the Prince of Wales prize of Harvard University and the European prize of Architecture, of the Commission of the European Communities/Mies van der Rohe Foundation. In 1992 he was awarded the Pritzer Prize for his work in general. In 1993 he was awarded the National Prize of Architecture, followed by the Secil Prize of Architecture, in 1996 and 2000. In 2001 he was awarded the Wolf Foundation prize and the Alexandre Herculano National Prize of Architecture.
In 2002, as well as in the years that followed, he received several prizes and awards, and in 2005 he was awarded the keys to the city of Porto.
Álvaro Siza was conferred the title of Honoris Causa Doctor by the following universities: Universidad Politécnica de Valência; École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne; University of Palermo; University Menendez Pelayo, in Santander; Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería in Lima, Peru; University of Coimbra; Lusíada University; Universidade Federal de Paraíba; and the Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Pollo delle Scienze e delle Tecnologie, in Naple.
Álvaro Siza Vieira is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science as well as "Honorary Fellow" of the Royal Institute of British Architects, the AIA, the Académie d'Architecture de France and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.
We might say, to conclude, that Álvaro Siza is the most famous and internationally renowned Portuguese architect.
(Text by Cátia Pereira, 2008)