Daniels Public Lecture: Álvaro Siza

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On September 25, 2015, the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Architecture, presented Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza at the University of Toronto's Convocation Hall. Álvaro Siza emerged in the late 1950s at the forefront of a generation of architects, modernist in sensibility but attuned to new ways to responding to history and context. Siza’s work adapted to the cultural and social context of Portugal and was at the forefront of shifting sensibilities across Europe. Drawing on both local building traditions and diverse international influences, such as the work of the Viennese Adolf Loos, the American Frank Lloyd Wright, the Finn Alvar Aalto, and the modernist German masters Hugo Haring, Bruno Taut, and Hans Scharoun, Siza injected a uniquely plastic, yet disciplined and sensitive modern architecture into the traditional fabric of Portuguese cities and towns. He has subsequently brought this sensibility to bear in numerous international commissions. Siza’s lecture in Toronto will focus on two projects aimed a transforming the city of Porto, projects which have influenced the way a generation of architects have thought about working on cities. Álvaro Siza has received two of architecture’s highest honors: the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1992 and the Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in 2012. Amongst his many other honours, he has also received the Mies van der Rohe award (1988) and the Alvar Aalto Medal (1988). His lecture coincides with the arrival of a large part of his office’s archive at the CCA in Montréal. The donated work comprises projects representing his life-long interest in and study of houses, housing, and urbanism, as well as designs for cultural centres, museums, and universities throughout Europe, Asia, and South America. Recognized internationally for its experience in the preservation and presentation of international archives, the CCA has committed to cataloguing and storing Siza’s materials and making them accessible for scholarly research. Siza’s public lecture also coincides with two exhibitions at the CCA featuring his work: Corner, Block Neighbourhood, Cities: Álvaro Siza in Berlin and The Hague, and The SAAL Process: Housing in Portugal 1974-76. The celebrated architect will be presenting a lecture in Montréal a day before his presentation in Toronto. For more information about the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto, visit us at www.daniels.utoronto.ca.

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