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HIGHLIGHT: EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA

EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA

HIGHLIGHT: EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA

Eduardo Souto de Moura was born in Porto, Portugal in 1952. Following his early years at the Italian School, Souto de Moura enrolled in the School of Fine Arts in Porto, where he began as an art student, studying sculpture, but eventually achieving his degree in architecture. He credits a meeting with Donald Judd in Zurich for the switch from art to architecture. While still a student, he worked for architect Noé Dinis and then Álvaro Siza, the latter for five years.

Since forming his own office in 1980, Souto de Moura has completed well over sixty projects, most in his native Portugal, but he has designs in Spain, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and Switzerland. The projects include single family homes, a cinema, shopping centers, hotels, apartments, offices, art galleries and museums, schools, sports facilities and subways.

EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA

Often described as a neo-Miesian, but one who constantly strives for originalit. In an interview with Croquis, he explained, “I find Mies increasingly fascinating … There is a way of reading him which is just to regard him as a minimalist. But he always oscillated between classicism and neoplasticism … You only have to remember the last construction of his life, the IBM building, with that powerful travertine base that he drilled through to produce a gigantic door. Then on the other hand, he arrived in Barcelona and did two pavilions, didn’t he? One was abstract and neo plastic and the other one was classical, symmetrical with closed corners … He was experimenting. He was already so modern he was ‘post’.”

House in Serra da Arrábida
House in Serra da Arrábida

During the past decades, Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura has produced a body of work that is of our time but also carries echoes of architectural traditions. His oeuvre is convincing proof of modern idiom’s expressive potential and adaptability to distinct local situations. Always mindful of context, understood in the broadest sense, and grounded in place, time, and function, Souto de Moura’s architecture reinforces a sense of history while expanding the range of contemporary expression.

eduardo souto de moura Braga Municipal Stadium
Braga Municipal Stadium
EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA Burgo Tower
Burgo Tower

The versatility of his practice is evident in the variety of commissions he has undertaken with success. He is capable of designing from domestic to urban scale. Many of his early works in the 1980s were single-family houses and remain among his seminal works. However, the scope of his work has expanded: the Braga Municipal Stadium, Portugal, designed in 2000 is muscular, monumental and very much at home within its powerful landscape; the Burgo Tower, Portugal, designed at the beginning of the 1990s and built a decade later, consists of two buildings side by side, one vertical and one horizontal with different scales, in dialogue with each other and the urban landscape; the Paula Rêgo Museum, completed in 2008, a grouping of volumes interspersed in the trees at its site in Cascais, Portugal, is both civic and intimate, and so appropriate for the display of art.

Casa das Histórias Paula Rego

In their apparent formal simplicity, Souto de Moura’s buildings weave together complex references to the characteristics of the region, landscape, site, and wider architectural history. Often simple geometries are underlined through interplay of solid and void or light and shadow. The restoration and adaptation of the Santa Maria Do Bouro Monastery into a hotel has taken a building from ruble to reinterpretation. Souto de Moura has created spaces that are both consistent with their history and modern in conception. The effectiveness of his works usually stems from the juxtaposition of elements and concepts. His unique capacity to embrace reality while employing abstraction creates an architectural language that transforms physicality into the metaphysical.

Santa Maria do Bouro Convent
Santa Maria do Bouro Convent
EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA Convento Das Bernardas
Convento Das Bernardas

Souto de Moura has achieved much praise for his exquisite use of materials—granite, wood, marble, brick, steel, concrete—as well as his unexpected use of color. His knowledge of construction and skill with materials are always visible in his buildings. He has the confidence to use stone that is a thousand years old or to take inspiration from a modern detail by Mies van der Rohe. The thoughtful use of copper, stone, concrete and wood in the Cultural Center in Porto, completed in 1991, for example, is a testament to his ability to combine materials expressively.

“Casa das Artes”, Cultural Centre for the S.E.C., Porto
“Casa das Artes”, Cultural Centre for the S.E.C., Porto.

Eduardo Souto de Moura’s architecture it is not obvious, frivolous, or picturesque. It is imbued with intelligence and seriousness. His work requires an intense encounter not a quick glance. And like poetry, it is able to communicate emotionally to those who take the time to listen. His buildings have a unique ability to convey seemingly conflicting characteristics—power and modesty, bravado and subtlety, bold public authority and sense of intimacy—at the same time. For architecture that appears effortless, serene, and simple, and for the care and poetry that permeates each project, Eduardo Souta de Moura receives the 2011 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA Bom Jesus House
Bom Jesus House
Cinema House
Cinema House

Source: pritzkerprize.com

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