Great inclined walls, sinuous layout, ample spaces alternating with others in dialogue with those of the museum. Great Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza just had an exhibition of drawings, projects and objects revealing his relationship with the sacred. “Alvaro Siza Sacro” is the title at MAXXI, Museo Nazionale delle Arte del XXI Secolo in Rome, curated by art guru Achille Bonito Oliva.
Projects with a religious nature are flanked by others where religiousness is treated in a less direct fashion: religious objects alternate with figurative drawings and architectural projects. On the walls, photos taken by international photographers: Fernando Guerra, Nicolo Galeazzi, Jose Rodrigues, Leonardo Finotti, Luis Ferreira, Mimmo Jodic… They describe the environments designed by Alvaro Siza, where religious ceremonies are practiced and the calm of the atmospheres where nature and landscape are the principles of sanctity.
Experimenting with extreme geometry forms, he manages to create buildings of immense simplicity. Developing an architectural language that is uniquely his, he speaks to all of us. While we are dazzled by the lightness of his buildings, we feel the seriousness of their substance.
It is difficult to think of a contemporary architect who maintains such a consistent presence. Secured by his isolated location, he exudes worldly wisdom. He lives and works at the extreme Atlantic margin of Europe. And yet, maintains a unique position in the architectural galaxy. Quite a paradox:Alvaro Siza has upheld consistent projects at the highest level without the slightest hint of the overt promotion, common in contemporary architect’s machinery. Running in the opposite direction, he always seems to be out in front, seemingly untainted and undaunted by the practical and intellectual challenges he sets himself. In justice, Alvaro Siza Vieira received the Golden Lionprize in 2012 at the Architecture Venice Biennale.