Eduardo Souto de Moura is a Portuguese Architect and the recipient of the 2011 Pritzker Architecture Prize. Born on 25th July 1952 in Porto, he initially studied sculpture before switching to Architecture and received his degree in 1980 from the School of Fine Arts of the University of Porto. From 1974 to 1979, he worked with the renowned Architect Alvaro Siza who further encouraged him to start his practice. They even collaborated on many projects, the most memorable being the wooden canopy for the 2005 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, London. Souto de Moura combines the abstract minimalism of Mies van der Rohe (an Architect he admires), with a proclaimed sensitivity towards the use of local materials and building techniques.
Before kick starting his independent career in architecture, he served two years in the military. Described as a Neo-Miesian, he has achieved much praise for his exquisite use of materials like granite, wood, marble, brick, steel, and concrete. The Pritzker jurors cited his works to appear effortless, serene and simple. Souto de Moura’s first major commission was the Municipal Market in Braga, Portugal, which later was remodelled as a Cultural Center in 2011 by the architect. He has a collection of modest housing under his name in his native country and has completed well over sixty projects, including hotels, museums, art galleries and many more. He also has his designs in Spain, Italy, Germany, the UK, and Switzerland.
Glimpses of his key projects
Braga Municipal Stadium:
Built in 2003 and perhaps cited as his most famous work, The Braga Municipal Stadium received the Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award for best new global design in 2006. Over a million and a half cubic yards of granite were blasted from the site and crushed to make concrete, the remains of which make the landscape stand muscular and tamed. It is also known as “A Pedreira” (The Quarry) for being carved into the side of a mountain.
Built in 2007, Torre do Burgo (Burgo Tower) is one of the most cosmopolitan buildings in the city of Porto. With 17 floors, the modularly expressed elevations evoke Mies van der Rohe’s design influence over the architect. Granite, the most popular and common construction material in Porto, was incorporated in thin layers with load bearing steel profiles. With its continuous façade, it is hard to distinguish the base, shaft, and crown of the structure with the naked eye. The horizontal elements openly display the technical parts of the design while being evenly transparent.
Casa das Histórias Paula Rego:
Built-in 2008 as a museum, Casa das Historias Paula Rego (The house of stories Paula Rego), was designed to house some of the works of the artist Paula Rego. It uses the region’s historical architecture, particularly the close-by Palace of Sintra in a contemporary way. Visually the structure is very distinctive, with its two pyramid-shaped towers and red-coloured concrete. Consisting of four wings of different heights and sizes, the museum has 750 m2 of exhibition space along with a 200 seat auditorium, shops, and café.
House in the Sierra de Arrabida:
Built-in 2002 and mimicking the natural surroundings, Souto de Moura integrates the house until it almost disappears in the landscape. With steep slopes, the house takes advantage of the views generated by the neighbouring protected parkland. The bright white walls are in stark contrast to the deep vibrant green of the surrounding. Fragmented into five blocks and oriented to make most of the visual narrative, the architect incorporates large trees in the gaps of the structure.
Apart from being the recipient of the 2011 Pritzker Award, Souto de Moura was honoured to be the only second Portuguese to have been awarded (the other-being Architect Alvaro Siza). The jurors believed his work to be intelligent and serious. His ability to combine materials expressively makes him a true force to be recognized in our industry. Since 2011 he has collaborated with Star Architects around the globe on multiple projects and continued designing villas/houses in his native.
Exhibition Hall in Bruges:
This project ended up as a collaboration between the Belgian practice Meta and Souto de Moura. They unveiled their plans for an exhibition hall and conference centre in Bruges. The structure, which can be opened up to a public square, will serve as a space for trade fairs, concerts, and other events. Recycled brick lamellas will feature on the front façade along with 38 existing, highly prized Beech trees, whose preservation has the highest priority. The structure with its 4,480 sqm hall will also play host to a terrace that will showcase the elevated views over the Bruges skyline.
The Woodland Chapel- designed by, Foster, Souto de Moura, and Flores&Prats:
With its debut at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Vatican City, questioned the meaning of the chapel in the 21st-century world. They selected famous architects from around the globe, of which one was Eduardo Souto de Moura. He designed a sunken chapel-style pavilion with thick stones. With a stone functioning as an altar at one end, a ledge was added, for visitors to sit around.