Three of Álvaro Siza Vieira’s projects are to be included in MoMA’s upcoming exhibition “Ways of Being Political”, curated by Portuguese architect Pedro Gadanho.
The upcoming exhibition follows the theme of Architecture and Politics, and will include works of over 70 architects, including some by Portugal’s most internationally respected and awarded architect, Álvaro Siza Vieira, Pedro Gadanho told Lusa news agency.
Curator of MoMA’s Architecture & Design Department Pedro Gadanho told Lusa that the idea behind this exhibition came from the recent frustration and concern expressed by architects on the topic of whether or not architecture was able to influence political movements. He added that the exhibition was meant “to show this political attitude has always existed and still exists, so there is almost no reason for this concern.” After working for MoMA for only six months, architect and curator Pedro Gadanho will be in charge of this exhibition, his first at the museum.
This is the first time a Portuguese architect will be represented in a collection which has overall favoured American architects at one of the most prestigious art museums in the world.
The three Siza Vieira projects chosen for the exhibit were the “Iberê Camargo Foundation”, in Porto Alegre, Brasil (1998-2008), the “Banco Pinto & Sotto Mayor” branch in Oliveira de Azeméis (1971-1974), in Portugal, for which he won the Golden Lion award at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2002, and the project he designed for SAAL (Serviço de Apoio Ambulatório Local) in São Victor, Porto (1974-1977), one of the three projects he signed for the workers’ council set up to address the lack of housing in Portugal after the 25 April revolution. The three projects cover a significant time-span in his career since they include some of his first works and one of his most recent projects, the “Iberê Camargo Foundation”.
The recently acquired pieces include thirty-five photographs, two models, and eighty-four designs, all of various stages of each of the chosen projects.
The most relevant of Siza’s projects in the exhibition is the “São Victor SAAL intervention”, which consisted of a housing project for thousands who lived in impoverished conditions in the city of Porto, in the wake of the 25 April revolution. It covers the political tension of the time and is an example of a time when architecture merged with a revolutionary process, something that will arguably not repeat itself.
Álvaro Siza Vieira, born in Matosinhos in 1933, is known internationally for his simple, clean line architecture, having won several awards including the most prestigious architecture award in the world in 1992: the Pritzker Prize.
Due to having suffered an accident in June Álvaro Siza missed a conference in New York on 8 June in which the announcement of the inclusion of his works in the exhibition was meant to take place, so it has now been rescheduled for September.
(Photograph: Manuel de Sousa)