Philosophy, Theory and Practice

| October 6, 2011 | 2 Comments

siza2The work of Álvaro Siza Vieira is a paradigmatic example of a reciprocal relationship between the place and the global, probably the crucial subject for the disciplines related with the production of the space since the late sixties.

For Álvaro Siza Vieira it is natural that a typical case as yours is produced in Portugal, that is a country that traditionally stayed very isolated after to Second World War. There were a lot of restrictions to leave the country. The information was regulated, there was a lot of censorship.

The distance condition was an incentive for the learning and the construction of an Architecture capable to jump out of the scene strictly place and to be more universal.
For Álvaro Siza Vieira universality it is not neutrality, it is not an aspect of the Architectural expression, it is a capacity to create from the roots. Like a tree that opens up.

His sense of universality has more to do with the vocation of the cities, that comes from centuries of intervention, of mysticism, of overlapping and of the mixture of the more opposed influences, but that results unmistakable.
He says that in some occasions a first intuition is crucial for the criative process. He believes that in the first idea there is a strong component of relationship with the past through the memory.

For Álvaro Siza Vieira, the formation, the point of the author’s interior development is crucial to solve the gradual implementation of the knowledge, of developing the rationalization course and communication, that is specific of the project, inside of the production of Architecture. For himself, the spontaneous never falls from the sky, it is one more assemblage of the information and knowledge, conscious or subconscious. Each projectual experience accumulates to form part of the next solution.

Álvaro Siza Vieira likes a lot of Art to explain architectural projects.
His act is produced by side drawing, what considers mutant of Architecture for an Architect, because maybe, in others it is produced with another way, with an image, with a narration. For himself it is impossible to imagine the first creative act without the support of instruments. This is always loaded of previous experiences, of memory, etc.

Álvaro Siza Vieira considers that the opening in the discussion of a theme is essential. On the opposite the perspective tends to be more subjective and personal and, therefore, limited. For himself the way of work of an architect request a great trust and statement capacity, and at the same time a certain estrangement.

It is Brecht’s attitude regarding the theatrical representation: the estrangement isn’t meant to assume a character, it means to be conscious of represent her.

For himself team work is very important, because in one case only one ends up getting entangled in the project: it is certain that in a certain moment what is being done doesn’t come from what projects it comes from the project. This point is important: he means that the project reached it density. But it also considers that it is a deviation possibility: he also wants to say that the project is not controlled. There are always other ways of introducing verification and control.

He is convinced that a project is not deduced directally of an analysis. For Álvaro Siza Vieira the learning of Architecture goes in one moment by an inferiority complex spicies in relation to the scientific subjects, complex that he/she translates (himself) in a specialization of the practices.

For Álvaro Siza Vieira this fragmentation of the knowledge was institutionalized excessively. When he sees himself exposed the real process of any scientific investigation ,it never meets an incompatible succession of analyses. The human mind doesn’t work lineally, but in a form much more sincrética in curves or Zig Zag.

For himself that non linearity of the thought is that it allows the production of a new information that didn’t exist before, because it is open to possible accidents. He believes that there is a series of prejudices institutionalized through the productive machine, in that the possibility that sometimes appears continues remote.

Certain day he read a text of a composer describing his form of composing, in which he explained: “sit down to the piano, I play the first notes, and stop… I change something and soon I continue, but I should change the first part, because the second one becomes structure (…) ” Álvaro Siza Vieira says that each one of their projects has been following a different course.

For Álvaro Siza Vieira forms and function has a complex and relative relationship, as the one that was analyzed between the place and the universal. They cannot be analyzed in a lineal or inevitable relationship.

It always feels better in an old house that in a new one. It can look for reasons and assume that apart from reasons as the amount of available space, the reasons of this annoyance were the linearity of the identity between the form and function.
Álvaro Siza Vieira says: “Maybe in some stages of my work there is excessive concentration in the plastic values. In subsequent stages, and trying to correct everything this establishing a certain estrangement between my personality and the product”.
Their projectos explore the aesthetics of the unfinished of the fragmented, of the deformed.

His language is more distinguishable by the use of more lines than perfect formes, it interests him the fragmentation as reaction to the complexity of a program, for opposition to the proposal of a self-sufficient system, but this doesn’t reduce his enthusiasm for the ideas and some works classified as disconstrutivists.

Their strategies derive of the conviction that a work never finishes. It doesn’t interest him the imposition of the perfection and of the style, but the construction of a support for the urban life in their transformations.

According to Álvaro Siza Vieira we should not forget that the city is not isolated, in its reality, but also has a memory.

For himself, to find the most important in the balance between the object and the city is one of the works and more important demands, to his judgement, for an architect. Then his obsession for the proportions, that it is for himself, one of the determinant of the importance of each intervention. We have always worked in this conflict among the monotony and belong to a whole.

For Álvaro Siza Vieira the process of transformation of the project is in a certain point out of control; it is as who writes a romance: the characters earn a living and they lead to the evolution.

For himself, the diversity, the imagination depends entirely, integrally, of this sense of the proportions that makes a place have interest.
It interests him the proportion as alternative of the contemporary obsession for the total innovation of the image, the fear of the monotonous.

In the historical centers the houses are practically all the same and nothing seems boring.
The tendency for the personal expression is inevitable, it is the brilliant phase, little it ripens of a project.

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Category: Philosophy

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  1. António Choupina says:

    Architecture “changes into a voluble animal, of restless legs and uncertain eyes. If its transfigurations are not understood, or if its desires are satisfied in more than the essential, it becomes a monster. If everything in it seems evident and beautiful it becomes still and ridiculous. If extremely contained, it stops breathing and dies. The project is for the architect as the character of a novel is to its author: constantly exceeding him. One must not lose it. Drawing pursues it. But the project is a character with many authors, only becoming intelligent when thus assumed, and obsessive and impertinent otherwise. Drawing is the desire of intelligence.” (SIZA, Álvaro - “Building” in Álvaro Siza Escrits. Carles Muro, Barcelona : Ediciones UPC, 1994, page 23)

    Siza’s architecture is a physical expression of experiences, intuitions and pursuits, materializing the indivisibility of all of the project’s dimensions. Therefore, being targeted at perception, his work constitutes a powerful form of intersubjective communication. More than an esthetic or functional object available for the enjoyment of others, Siza’s architecture is a compendium of knowledge, a text with an intricate net of meanings. This turns it into a mediating reality, in the sense that it conveys information, allowing for the recognition of experiences or images and disclosing occult or unknown dimensions that extend local awareness for architectural dialog.

    His buildings open a space for the serious transformation of the territory, establishing an affirmative but flexible matrix, which recognizes urban necessities as well as those of its inhabitants. It is recognizing in life and spaces that architecture has a role in the personal and social development of mankind, communicating in silence like soliloquies. So great is the conviction of its relevance in the “locus” that, with time, his articulated white volumes participate in the history of cities, referencing and completing one another.

    Siza’s thought is not linear, absolute and definitive. The solution can be found in the syllogistic duality between what remains constant and what is presented as innovation. Both the premises value the existence and the absence of “belonging”, keeping in mind the tremendous context of: the location, the program, the material, the morpho-typological values of other works, the expression of color and curve, et cetera. In reality, all of his buildings intend to be exceptions, denying a fixed language, continually reinterpreting and inverting multiple arguments. Álvaro Siza’s true synthesis is the variety of interceptive guidelines and opposite influences, creating unity from diversity and difference from the equality. He is able to obtain joint deviation and continuity, transitioning past and present logics into linguistic prepositions, a sort of conceptual codex if you will.

    Essentially, he’s a remarkable architect, one whose meaning largely surpasses just portuguese architecture, inspiring me every day in the labor for my craft.

  2. Luca Preganziol says:

    Who wrote this article?

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