81 Álvaro Siza Vieira

Alvaro Siza
Architects don’t invent anything; they transform reality.

Tradition is important when it contains moments of change, when it is not just outward form and when it also implies an idea of what goes on inside a building, of conflicts and a potential for innovation. Otherwise tradition just means being stuck in a rut.

I am a firm believer in praxis, and I don’t have much time for the idea of the loner of genius who does everything all by himself. You need other people as well, at every level.

I’ve learnt to stop treating architecture as consisting of privileged forms and materials; that’s the hallmark of the strictly disciplinary approach. I think it is more realistic to start with the problems of the people and their environment.

A good architect works slowly.

There is always a conflict and that even increases as I get older. I have to be on my guard not to oversimplify things, but you can hardly deny that architecture is physical presence.

The frenzy in New York does not lie in the architecture, but in the intersections between the buildings, the traffic, the innumerable things going on, the mixture of cultures. The architecture forms a solid and static foundation for all that speed. The tops of the skyscrapers are narrow and fantastic, but lower down they are sturdy and unambiguous.

The relation of a building to its function needs to be much less schematic and formal if you want to produce good architecture.

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