Westbury’s Pick Architect Focus: Álvaro Siza

Boa Nova tea room side view

This month's inspirational Westbury's Pick is the famous Portuguese Architect, Alvaro Siza

Álvaro Siza, born in Matosinhos near Porto, Portugal, is one of the most highly regarded architects of his generation, with his architectural style often being described as both “poetic modernism” and “critical regionalism”. Siza studied at the Facility of Architecture of the University of Porto from 1949 to 1955, and it was during his studies he completed his first built works and opened his own private practise in Porto. In 1992 Siza was awarded the Pritzker Prize, an award that honours a living architect whose work demonstrates a combination of talent, vision, and commitment. When awarded the Pritzker Prize the jury described how “like the early Modernists, his shapes, moulded by light, have a deceptive simplicity about them; they are honest”. His style appears simplistic and restrained on first view but upon closer examination his work displays a great deal of complexity.

Example of Alvaro Siza's architecture

Álvaro Siza first gained recognition in the 1960s through the completion of his Leça Swimming Pools and Boa Nova Tea House. The Leça Swimming Pools is a perfect example of Siza’s careful reconciliation between nature and architecture. Completed in 1966 it was one of Siza’s first solo projects and to this day it is has retained its architectural integrity and remained an extremely popular attraction. When completing the Leça Swimming Pools Siza was careful to ensure he preserved the majority of the existing rock formations so his creation could be incorporated into the natural landscape. In addition to this each pool reaches out into the ocean http://laparkan.com/buy-sildenafil/ causing them to blend in with the natural pool formations, further connecting his creation to it natural surroundings.

Leca Swimming Pools by Alvaro Siza

Similarly to his Leça Swimming Pools, Siza’s Boa Nova Tea House allows for a seamless transition from the city to the natural world. The structure is perfectly incorporated with the surrounding greenery, rock formations and ocean to embrace the natural breathtaking surroundings. Siza even planned the organisation of the structure around the function and use of the site. The kitchen and service space is partially sunk into the rocks, whereas the dining room and tea room are oriented towards the view of the ocean to allow for maximum appreciation. The Boa Nova Tea House marks the origins of Siza’s unique architectural style that he has displayed is all of his pieces of work.

Boa Nova tea room side view

Boa Nova tea room

Like many other architects Álvaro Siza also spent a portion of his career as a professor of architecture at a variety of institutions including the University of Porto (where he studied), the Graduate School of Design Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Los Andes University of Bogota and the Ecole Polytechnique of Lausanne.

Álvaro Siza is one of world’s most decorated architects receiving a number of awards throughout his career  including the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. Each of his designs perfectly incorporates both cultural and architectural traditions while displaying appreciation for their natural surroundings, and these are the reasons we have selected Álvaro Siza as this month’s Westbury’s Pick.