Álvaro Siza: The Function of Beauty
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Alvaro Siza's work is recognized internationally for its beauty, simplicity, and gravity. The stark lines and geometric clarity of his buildings produce almost startling experiences of space. Among his earliest projects was a beach bathing complex in Matosinhos, just north of Porto, in which earthworks and a series of concrete walls define pools in the ocean that are enclosed enough to swim in but over which water can flow. This kind of a sensitive intrusion into a site, common to many of Siza's buildings, lends them the serenity of structures much older. Despite the timeless quality of his work, Siza's history is intimately bound up with that of Portugal. Included in this volume is a cooperative housing project he designed in Porto immediately after the 1974 revolution, about one third of which was built under the auspices of a newly-formed housing cooperative. 30 years later, Porto's city council decided to build the rest of the project and refurbish the existing houses. Both phases of building required multiple discussions between the residents and the architect, and reflect the changing political and social life of the country. All projects in this book are documented in full, with sketches, drawings, and photographs, and detailed descriptions by author Carlos Castanheira and Siza himself. Siza's architecture has been defined as continuously experimental; as this generously-illustrated volume makes clear, each of his designs responds creatively to its setting but his work as a whole retains a unity of form. In addition to residential, cultural, and infrastructural projects in Portugal, this book includes the Ibere Camargo Foundation in Puerto Alegre, Brazil, opened to wide acclaim in April 2008, and projects currently under construction including a mimesis museum in Paju, South Korea, as well as a cultural centre in Ceuta and a sports hotel in Huesca, both in Spain.