Alvaro Siza Vieira

The musical order of space


Text: Lina Stefanou  Photography: Yannis Bournias

“…What the architect uses for developing an idea is very similar to what a filmmaker uses and the way he works. The camera travels a long way, then stops. The camera approaches. When you enter a building you have exactly the same effect. You follow a corridor, then you arrive at a room. The light changes. Then you see things in a small scale. So you have the same ingredients in different forms of art. A building has volumes, and controlling them is a fundamental part of the exercise. The difference is that in architecture the control of volumes has to remain together with control of the space”.

There are people who seem like a whole country themselves. When they talk, they spread in front of you valleys and untrodden mountains you never knew were there. There are people who seem like a whole country themselves, and making their acquaintance is equal to a journey. Alvaro Siza Vieira is one of those people. He is one of the most important architects of our time. He received me at his office in Foz. Natural, polite, with a lit cigarette permanently in one hand and a pencil in the other, sketching while we were talking.