Álvaro Siza Architect
Santa Monica Museum of Art
Santa Monica, California, USA
On view: May 13, 2006 - August 19, 2007
There are two different words in Portuguese that mean 'to look' and 'to see and understand'…. The tool of the architect is to be able to see./Álvaro Siza
Álvaro Siza's eloquent body of work is testimony to his belief that "Architecture is an art." His inspired understanding of spatial relationships, considerations of scale, sensitivity to material and texture and use of light as an expressive and active element transforms the natural and built landscape with depth and originality.
The exhibition introduces visitors to Siza's vision through
drawings, models and photographs of five selected projects; The
Water Tower (1988-1989) Aveiro, Portugal, the Santa Maria Church
(1990-1996) Marco de Canaveses, Portugal, the Serpentine Gallery
Pavilion (2005) London, England, the Iberê Camargo Foundation
(1998-2006) Porto Alegre, Brazil and the, as yet unbuilt, Mário
Bahia House (1983) Gondomar, Portugal.
Set on the University of Aveiro campus, the Water Tower accomplishes its practical function while projecting an engaging minimalist fragility.
The reinforced concrete tank stands on a supporting panel next
to a hollow cylinder that also serves as a support as well as a
container for tubing and stairs. The construction rises over a
reflecting sheet of water. Exquisitely balancing the striking
verticality of the structure with the horizontality of the
landscape, the asymmetry of the Water Tower allows viewers to
experience its form in a different way depending on the angle from
which the tower is observed.
One of Siza's masterpieces is undeniably the Santa maria Church in Marco de Canavezes, a space where he assigns a sacred dimension, as it were, to the light.
Since 2000, the Serpentine Gallery has commissioned the building of a three-month temporary pavilion near the neoclassical brick building housing the modern and contemporary art gallery.
The lattice-wood structure, with the lower part open to a height
of 1.3 meters and the rest of the pavilion covered with a
polycarbonate, allows light to stream in and through the pavilion's
grid-work. Light sources centered in each wooden square were run by
solar-powered batteries, giving the building a luminous aura at
In response to the challenge of designing a museum for the
collection of the noted Brazilian painter on a small, narrow and
steep plot of land near a busy avenue, Siza created a vertical
construction, with three floors of exhibition space and then the
car park on the top, rising above the avenue itself.
Siza sketches constantly and often his sketches are incorporated into the decor of his buildings.
Since I was a boy….I have made drawings…. Drawings, landscapes, portraits and travel sketches, have always kept me busy. I don't think that it has a direct relation with architecture but it is a good way to develop acuity of vision/Álvaro Siza, in conversation with Philip Jodidio
This is the first museum exhibition in the US showing Pritzker Prize winner Álvaro Siza's work. Siza's long-time colleague, collaborator and friend, the noted architect Carlos Castanheira, directed the onsite installation.
Last updated: December 19, 2013
Marco de Canavezes, Portugal