area 101 | álvaro siza

He was born in Matosinhos in 1933. He became architect, rather than sculptor, in order not to contradict his father. He began working during his school years, as he lacked the patience to merely study, assisting architect Fernando Tàvora and at the same time continuing his studies. He dedicated himself to a collective project of the period: not to be traditionalist, and not to ignore the roots. The early works were, in general, not very well received; they were considered strange when they were not judged too modern (something he found amazing). He began his career in teaching as professor at the Fine Arts Academy of Porto. He worked for the Association of Inhabitants in the period just after the revolution of 25 April 1974, a very intense period for him. He was clever, creative, and soon found his path blocked. He accepted the invitations of other countries. The first works in Berlin were not appreciated, as they did not meet the expectations (they were criticized for lacking the expected delicate details, for the timidity of the inspiration). However, he has won various international prizes and has subsequently been invited to work in Portugal, followed by criticism and the definition of “xenophile”. He is often considered slow and not very energetic, and this is anything but untrue. He is continuously invited to participate in juries, receptions, exhibitions and work hypotheses. When his work leads to concrete results, it turns into a kind of obstacle race. Nevertheless, his love for Architecture is intact. He has a desire, which is not precisely a secret, to abandon it to do something else; he is not quite sure what.