Casa das Artes
Arq. Eduardo Souto Moura

Further Information

The first Secil Architecture Award was for the Casa das Artes building in Porto, designed by the architect Eduardo Souto Moura. Curiously, it is the result of one of his first projects, where the contrast of materials and textures, including concrete, was already one of the most important features of the building.

This first award was also marked by the extensive list of high quality works submitted to the competition, in which several architects – including Souto de Moura himself – competed with more than one work.

The immediate acceptance of this Award, which from the start enjoyed the High Patronage of the President of the Republic, and “…the committed and sustained support of a very large number of agencies.”, were reason enough for Secil to take on “…the commitment needed to ensure the continuity of this architecture competition…”, thus also paving the way for the institution of the Universities Competition, which took place for the first time in 1998.

He was born in Porto on 25 July, 1952. He graduated in Architecture at the ESBAP in 1980. He worked with A. Siza from 1974 to 1980. Since then, he has worked as a freelancer with his own office.

He has been a visiting lecturer in Lausanne, Paris-Belleville, Harvard, Dublin and ETH-Zurich.

He has given lectures in Portugal, Spain, UK, France, Italy, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, USA, Netherlands, Ireland, Canada and Norway.

He has held exhibitions in Porto, Lisbon, Braga, Paris, Clermont-Ferrand, Bordeaux, London, Cambridge, Milan, Rome, Piran, New York, Harvard and Zurich.

His career to date has included the following awards:

– António de Almeida Foundation Prize.

– Antero de Quental Foundation Prize.

– 1st Prize in the competition for the restructuring of the Praça Giraldo, Évora.

– 1st Prize in the competition for the S.E.C. Cultural Centre, Porto.

– 1st Prize in the competition for the C.I.A.C. pavilions.

– 1st Prize in the competition for a hotel in Salzburg.

Work datasheet: Cultural Centre – Casa das Artes

Location: Porto

Public Architecture Competition: Winner 1981

Project date: 1984-1985

Date of construction: 1988-1991

Design: Eduardo Souto de Moura

Collaborators: João Carreira, Luísa Penha

Client: Department of Culture

Structure: João Maria Sobreira

Electricity: José Sousa Guedes

Mechanics: Constantino Matos Campos

Water/sewerage: Inês Sobreira

Builder: Soares da Costa, Lda.

Apparently small in size, this building coordinates contiguous elements – garden, walls and a nineteenth-century house, a newly built apartment block, the walls and areas that surround it – making what it was not before into something intentional.

The feeling that this architecture conveys is serenity. However, briefly, it reveals itself to be almost unusual. I believe that this second “nature” of Souto Moura’s architecture owes much to the complexity and uniqueness of its materialization: granite from the north, hand crafted bricks from the south, imported stainless steel profiles, concrete in unusual colours, intense red African wood, light fittings and air conditioning arranged without preconceptions, plaster beautifully executed by Alto Minho craftsmen. Nobody else has ever been able to use such a wide range of materials, colours, textures in such a limited area (…).

Álvaro Siza, Architect, President of the Jury, in Secil Architecture Award 1992, Edição Secil

Any kind of intervention on that site should avoid interference with the existing garden. The need was to omit rather than to add; to file down rather than design; to find a simple, rigorous response rather than compose.

On the entrance floor, there are three spaces: a cinema, an auditorium and a foyer / exhibition hall. On the sunken floor an exhibition room and services were planned. The purpose of the Casa das Artes was to create a Cultural Centre for the then Department of Culture, in Porto.

Eduardo Souto de Moura, Architect, in Secil Architecture Award 2000, Edição Secil

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