Architecture without Capital Letters

Jean-Louis Cohen 

Over the past twenty years, the work of Álvaro Siza has taken on a new dimension, for both its geographic and thematic reach. His field of action had long ago surpassed Portugal’s frontiers – take for instance his participation at the Venice Biennale in 1978 and his first commission in 1981 for a residential building in Berlin’s Kreuzberg quarter. And for a long time already his work cannot be contained within the boundaries of regionalism, even if ‘critical.’ Without losing his Iberian roots, Siza has worked in Europe, the Americas, and Asia, and this expansion largely reflects Portugal’s opening up to the world and the world’s opening up to Portugal, as proven by the success of the novels of José Saramago and António Lobo Antunes, as well as the films of Manoel de Oliveira and Pedro Costa, to name just two directors belonging to very distant generations...

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