Faculty of Information Sciences
Arq. Álvaro Siza Vieira
Santiago de Compostela

Further Information

Siza Vieira was the winner of the fifth Secil Architecture Awards with his work for the Faculty of Information Sciences, in Santiago de Compostela. Siza Vieira was recognized for the second time with this award, having been the winner also in 1996 for his recovery project for the Castro & Melo Building in the damaged areas of the Chiado district, Lisbon.

The Secil Architecture Award, because of its value and recognized prestige over the years, remains the most highly regarded national architecture award.

Álvaro Joaquim de Melo Siza Vieira was born in Matosinhos in 1933. He studied Architecture at the Graduate School of Fine Arts in Porto between 1949 and 1955 and his first work was built in 1954.

He worked for Prof. Fernando Távora from 1955 to 1958. He taught at ESBAP between 1966 and 1969 and joined the institution in 1976 as Assistant Professor of “Construction”. He was Visiting Lecturer at the Polytechnic School of Lausanne, the University of Pennsylvania, at the Los Andes School, Bogota, Graduate School of Design of Harvard University as “Kenzo Tange visiting Lecturer”; he still teaches at the Architecture Faculty of Porto.

He works as an architect in Porto and has designed several works in Portugal, Spain, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and Germany.

He has been invited to participate in international competitions and won first place in Schlesisches Tor, Kreuzberg, Berlin (already built), the recovery of the Campo di Marte, Venice (1985), the refurbishment of the Casino and the Cafe Winkler, Salzburg (1986) and La Defensa Cultural Centre in Madrid (1988/89).

The Portuguese Section of the International Association of Art Critics awarded him the Architect of the Year Prize in 1982. He received an Architecture Award from the Portuguese Architects Association (1987).

In 1988 he won the Architecture Gold Medal of the Higher Council of the Madrid College of Architects, the Gold Medal of the Alvar Aalto Foundation, the Prince of Wales Prize from Harvard University and the European Architecture Prize from the Commission of the European Communities / Mies van der Rohe Foundation.

In 1992 he was awarded the Pritzker Prize by the Hyatt Foundation of Chicago for his work as a whole.

In 1993, he received the National Architecture Prize awarded by the Portuguese Architects Association. In 1994, the Dr. H.P. Berlagestichting prize and the Gubbio/Associazione Nazionale Centri Storico-Artistici prize. In 1995, the Gold Medal awarded by the Nara World Architecture Exposition and the Architetture di Pietra International Prize awarded by the Verona Fair. In 1996, he received the Secil Architecture Award. In 1997 he was awarded the Manuel de la Dehesa Prize by the Menendez Pelayo University in Santander.

In 1998, he received the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York; the IberFAD Architecture Prize from Foment de les Arts Decoratives, Barcelona; the Praemium Imperiale from the Japan Art Association, Tokyo, and the Gold Medal of the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid.

In 1999, he received the Grand Cross of the Order of Infante D. Henrique awarded by the Presidency of the Portuguese Republic, and the Leca Construction Award 98. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science and an “Honorary Fellow” of the Royal Institute of British Architects, the AIA / American Institute of Architects, the Académie d’Architecture of France and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.

He has been awarded honorary doctorates by: University of Valencia, Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne, University of Palermo, Menendez Pelayo University, National University of Engineering of Lima, University of Coimbra, Lusíada University and the Federal University of Paraíba, João Pessoa (Brazil) (2000).

The building of the Faculty of Information Sciences will be located in Burgo de las Naciones, within the new university complex, on a plot defined in the respective Building Land Units Plan. This plot is bordered to the north by Rua Castelao, to the South and East by Burgo de las Naciones and to the west by the staircase that connects them.

The building’s main block is developed in linear fashion from east to west, in harmony with the south alignment of the Faculty of Philology. This block has three floors (ground floor and two floors in the West half of its transversal development, basement, ground floor and one floor in the remaining length). Its dimensions are 17.5m x 127m.

The two-level roof is the result of adaptation to the topography and programme constraints. The most restricted area houses nine classrooms, an amphitheatre, accessed by a ramp, lifts and stairs and on the top floor the offices of the lecturers. The more expansive area houses the radio and visual creation studios and the audiovisual labs.

All the areas are arranged along a north facing gallery, with the main lobby located between the two above-mentioned sectors (audio and audiovisual). The gallery also gives access to three perpendicularly arranged blocks, standing between 7 and 10 metres tall, which define courtyards opening onto Rua Castelao. The block situated at the West end of the gallery is the auditorium (300 seats). The two remaining blocks, at the far east end, complete the audiovisuals area and house the television and cinema studios. The library occupies a central position accessible from the duplex lobby. Its block offers a broad access porch. The stairs, lifts and toilets are evenly spaced along the distribution gallery, in order to satisfy the respective Regulations.

Work datasheet: Faculty of Information Sciences

Location: Calle Burgo de las Naciones, Santiago de Compostela

Project date: 1993-2000

Date of construction: 1998-2000

Design: Álvaro Siza

Senior collaborators: Carlos Seoane, Marco Rampulla

Collaborators: Cristina Ferreirinha, Edison Okumura, Javier Molina, Lia Kiladis, Luis Diaz Mauriño, Gonzalo Benavides

Associated firm: Carlos Seoane

Client: University of Santiago de Compostela

Structure: GOP – Eng. Jorge Silva

Electricity: Raul Serafim

Acoustics: Higini Arau

Mechanics: GET – Eng. Costa Pereira

Area of the building: 5.700 m2

Project area: 13.600 m2

Builder: Construtora San José

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