Architecture, sculpture and cinema have common ground

The Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza affirmed today that not only architecture and sculpture have a common basis, as “ballet and cinema belong to the same family, although their relationship is less direct.

Speaking at the “Alfaro” Colloquium, at the Bancaja Foundation’s headquarters in Valencia, Siza Vieira said that “in architecture, there is always doubt and fear” and when drawing, every time a project begins, it finds “the myriad problems that surround the architecture“.

In this, it also resembles sculpture, in need of drawing,” he said, quoted by the Efe agency, at the colloquium dedicated to the Valencian sculptor Andreu Alfaro (1929-2012).

For the architect, distinguished in 1992 with the Pritzker Prize and, in 2012, with the Golden Lion of Career at the International Biennial of Architecture in Venice, “while architecture and sculpture are related to form, development and continuity of space, sculpture does not take into account human behavior, while architecture literally has people inside.

Quoted by the Efe agency, Siza Vieira said that as a child, in the 1940s, when he was 8 or 10 years old, he wanted to be a sculptor, but he eventually entered the world of architecture, although he had no previous or familiar contact, nor professional, with this area.

When I entered the School of Arts, the first teacher who criticized what I did told me that my work showed that I understood absolutely nothing about what architecture is, and advised me to buy specialized magazines on the subject“, recalled the architect.

Siza Vieira also lamented the lack of copyright in the architects’ work.

In architecture, rather than sculpture, the authorship is diluted: “The project is given to an architect, called an engineer and now there are even specialists in the windows, the sum of different elements breaks the idea of authorship,” he said.

The initial image or idea belongs to the author, but the development of an architectural project is very complex and involves different technical profiles, while in sculpture a single author makes a piece,” he said.

Asked about the moment when he met the work of sculptor Andreu Alfaro, Siza Vieira assured that he was “amazed and furious for not having met him before”, revealing that he is passionate about the work of the Valencian sculptor.

Born 84 years ago in Matosinhos, where in August 2009 the Portuguese Government awarded him the Cultural Merit Medal, Álvaro Siza Vieira studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Porto, where he was a teacher, and created emblematic works in Portugal such as the Casa de The reconstruction of the Chiado area in Lisbon after the fire in 1988, the Serralves Contemporary Art Museum in Oporto, or the Portuguese Pavilion, with its Parque das Nações, as part of the 1998 World Exposition in Lisbon.

Abroad, they are the author of the museum for the Iberê Camargo Foundation, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the Meteorological Center of the Olympic Village in Barcelona, and the rector of the University of Alicante, both in Spain, among other projects.

Doctor Honoris Causa from several universities, the work of Álvaro Siza has been internationally awarded. In addition to the Pritzker, he received the Mies van der Rohe awards in 1988, Wolf in 2001, the Royal Gold Medal of the British Institute of Architects in 2009, the Alvar Aalto Medal, the Architecture Museum and the Finnish Architects Association, in 1988, and the Gold Medal of the International Union of Architects in 2011.

He was also honoured by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, with the Grand Cross of the Order of Public Instruction, a distinction he attached to the Grand Officer of the Military Order of Sant’Iago da Espada, received in 1992, Cross of the Order of the Infante D. Henrique de Portugal (1999).

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