Castro & Melo Building
Álvaro Siza Vieira

Further Information

The third Secil Architecture Award recognized Álvaro Siza Vieira for the recovery of the Castro & Melo Building, Rua Nova do Almada, in the damaged Chiado district, Lisbon.

At the time, Vítor Mestre, a jury member that year representing the Portuguese Architects Association, summarized a large part of the value of the work as follows: “…It shows an appreciation with an educational sense (…), focusing judiciously on ways of intervening in the city, particularly in a historic area of great social significance, contradicting the idea that heritage is a façade with the interiors being indifferent to the whole – determined according to the taste of the individual.

The fact that the prize-winning work is part of the overall project of rehabilitation of Chiado, by the same architect, meant that the prize was awarded for the first time to the urban dimension of the architecture.

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 has participated in Seminars and Conferences from Portugal to Japan and from the USA to Argentina. His works have been presented all over the world in exhibitions, some of them extremely important, such as the exhibitions at the Pompidou Centre (Paris 1990) or CGAC (Santiago de Compostela 1995). 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 the Verona Fair.

He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science and “Honorary Fellow” of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He has been awarded honorary doctorates by: University of Valencia, Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne, University of Palermo and the Menendez Pelayo University. His work as an architect is vast and highly celebrated. He started with three modest houses in Matosinhos, and is now involved in various parts of Europe on buildings including university schools, housing, churches, hotels, recoveries and refurbishments of urban areas, museums, libraries, factories, interiors, etc.

Work datasheet: Castro & Melo Building

Location: Chiado – Lisbon

Project date: 1988-1995

Date of construction: 1995

Design: Álvaro Siza Vieira

Coordinator: Jorge Carvalho

Structure: STA – Segadães Tavares Associados, Lda

Builder: EDIFER

The Castro & Melo building, in the damaged Chiado district, exemplifies, to an extent, the keystone of the recovery and reconstruction strategy of the area destroyed by the fire, implemented at municipal level by Siza Vieira, with the essential support of the Chiado Office in the preparation, management and application of rules and regulations established for the purpose.

The building is absolutely exemplary for the way in which it incorporates the programme content recommended in the recovery of the area, by introducing the elements of commerce, offices and residences and the rules drawn up for the boundaries between public and private space, with masterly development not only of the containment aspects dictated by the rules but also the room for freedom and openness that these rules allow for private interiors in public housing.

Gonçalo Sousa Byrne, Architect, President of the Jury, in Secil Architecture Award 1996, Edição Secil

(…) The patient actions of Álvaro Siza are not invention. They are discovery It is an architecture that reveals a place, where history is engraved with the future.

Prof. Dr. Jacinto Rodrigues in Secil Architecture Award 1996, Edição Secil

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