Álvaro Siza Vieira Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement< Back
The awards ceremony will take place on 29th August 2012, 11 a.m. at the Giardini
06 | 27 | 2012
Common Ground (Venice, Giardini and Arsenale, August 29th – November 25th, 2012)
Álvaro Siza Vieira has been chosen to be the recipient of the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition – Common Ground (Venice, Giardini and Arsenale, August 29th – November 25th, 2012).
The decision is made by the Board of la Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta, under Director David Chipperfield who presented the following motivation:
“I am equal in size to whatever I see,
not hemmed in by the size I am”
(Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet)
“It is difficult to think of a contemporary architect who has maintained such a consistent presence within the profession as Álvaro Siza. That this presence is maintained by an architect that lives and works at the extreme Atlantic margin of Europe only serves to emphasise his authority and his status.”
“Since the early appreciation of the Boa Nova restaurant and the swimming pools at Leca de Palmeira and a reputation confirmed by the early houses, Siza has maintained a unique position in the architectural galaxy. This position is full of paradox. Siza has upheld a consistent production of works at the highest level, yet without the slightest hint of the overt professionalism and promotion that has become part of the contemporary architect’s machinery. Apparently running in the opposite direction to the rest of the profession he always seems to be out in front, seemingly untainted and undaunted by the practical and intellectual challenges he sets himself.”
“Secured by his isolated location, he exudes worldly wisdom. Experimenting with forms of extreme geometry he manages to produce buildings of great rigor. Developing an architectural language that is uniquely his, he seems to speak to all of us. While his work exudes the security of judgment, it is clearly intensified through cautious reflection. While we are dazzled by the lightness of his buildings, we feel the seriousness of their substance.
Those of us fortunate enough to have heard him speak about architecture, using words as sparingly and as precise as the fine lines of his drawings, know that these works are not the product of a conventional talent but of a mind sophisticatedly exercised by the confidence of knowledge and the wisdom of doubt.” (David Chipperfield)
The Golden Lion will be officially awarded to Álvaro Siza Vieira on Wednesday August 29th, 2012 - 11am at the Giardini of la Biennale, during the opening and award ceremony of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition.
Álvaro Joaquim Melo Siza Vieira was born in Matosinhos (near Porto), in 1933.
From 1949-55 he studied at the School of Architecture, University of Porto. His first built project was finished in 1954. From 1955-58 he was collaborator of Arch. Fernando Távora. He taught at the School of Architecture (ESBAP) from 1966-69 and was appointed Professor of "Construction" in 1976. He was a Visiting Professor at the Ècole Polythéchnique of Lausanne, the University of Pennsylvania, Los Andes University of Bogotá and the Graduate School of Design of Harvard University; he taught at the School of Architecture of Porto (jubilate in 2003).
He is the author of many projects such as: the Boa Nova Tea House and Restaurant; 1200 dwellings built in Malagueira, Évora; the Superior School of Education in Setúbal, the new School of Architecture in Porto; the Library of Aveiro University; the Museum of Modern Art in Porto; the Church and Parochial Centre in Marco de Canavezes; the Pavilion of Portugal for EXPO '98 and the Pavilion of Portugal in Hannover 2000 (with Souto de Moura); the dwelling and offices complex of “Terraços de Bragança” in Lisbon; and he has rebuilt the burnt area of Chiado in Lisbon since 1988, including the projects for some buildings like Castro e Melo, Grandella, Chiado Stores, and others.
He has been coordinated the plan of Schilderswijk's recuperation in The Hague, Holland, since 1985, which finished in 89; in 1995 he finished the project for blocs 6-7-8 in Ceramique Terrein, Maastricht.
In Spain he has completed the projects for the Meteorological Centre of Villa Olimpica in Barcelona; the Museum of Contemporary Art of Galicia and the Faculty of Information Sciences in Santiago de Compostela; the Rectorate of the Alicante University; Zaida building – offices, commercial and dwelling complex in Granada; Sportive Complex Cornellà de L’lobregat in Barcelona.
Cultural Centre and auditorium for the Ibere Camargo Foundation in Brazil; Municipal Centre of Rosario in Argentina; lodging-house in the Plan of Recuperation and Transformation of Cidade Velha in Cap Vert; Serpentine Pavillion (2005) with Eduardo Souto Moura; Museum of Modern Art of Naples in Italy; Anyang Pavilion in South Korea (with Carlos Castanheira); Mimesis Museum in South Korea (with Carlos Castanheira); are to be mentioned.
He has participated in several lectures and conferences in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Norway, Holland, Switzerland, Austria, England, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Canada, United States, Romania, Greece, South Korea and Sweden.
Having been invited to participate in international competitions, he won the first place in Schlesisches Tor, Kreuzberg, Berlin (now built), at the recuperation of Campo di Marte in Venice (1985) and at the renewal of Casino and Café Winkler, Salzburg (1986); Cultural Centre for the La Defensa, Madrid (with José Paulo Santos) (1988/89); J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California (with Peter Testa) (1993); Pietà Rondanini Room, Sforzesco Castell, Milan (1999); Special Plan Recoletos-Prado, Madrid (with Juan Miguel Hernandez Leon e Carlos Riaño) (2002); Toledo Hospital (Sánchez-Horneros office) (2003); “Atrio de la Alhambra” in Spain (with Juan Domingo Santos)(2010); “Parco delle Cave”, Lecce in Italy (with Carlos Castanheira) (2010).
He has participated in the competitions for Expo 92 in Sevilla, Spain (with Eduardo Souto de Moura and Adalberto Dias) (1986); for "Un Progetto per Siena", Italy (with José Paulo Santos) (1988); the Cultural Centre La Defensa in Madrid, Spain (1988/89); the Bibliothèque of France in Paris (1989/90), the Helsinki Museum (with Souto de Moura) (1992-93); Flamenco City of Xerez de la Frontera, Spain (with Juan Miguel Hernandez Leon) (2003).
From 1982 to 2010 has won many different awards and have been assigned with Medals of Cultural Merit from many country around the world. Doctor "Honoris Causa" in various European and International universities.
He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science; "Honorary Fellow" of the Royal Institute of British Architects; AIA/American Institute of Architects; Académie d'Architecture de France and European Academy of Sciences and Arts; Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts; IAA/International Academy of Architecture; American Academy of Arts and Letters.