Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura has been named the winner of the 2011 Pritzker Prize ahead of the official announcement date – the announcement of the $100,000 prize winner was not supposed to happen until April 11, but a Spanish news organization broke the embargo on the story. Souto de Moura has produced a varied body of public and private work, but he is best known for his stadium in Braga, Portugal. His buildings are praised for their use of natural materials. The esteemed 58-year-old architect is the second Portuguese architect to win the award, the first being Alvaro Siza, who nabbed the prize in 1992.
Souto de Moura worked for Siza from 1975 to 1979 during the beginning of his career. While he does not define his work as green, Souto de Moura takes care to pay attention to sustainable building elements. At a forum in 2004, he said, “There is no ecological architecture, no intelligent architecture, no sustainable architecture — there is only good architecture. There are always problems we must not neglect. For example, energy, resources, costs, social aspects — one must always pay attention to all these.”
Thanks to his penchant for angular designs that use steel, glass, granite, and marble, Souto de Moura is often described as a “neo-Miesian.” He is little known in the United States, having no buildings here, but his work throughout Europe has garnered much positive attention. Most of his buildings are in Portugal, where he draws upon local traditions of design.
“[Souto de Moura] has the confidence to use stone that is a thousand years old or to take inspiration from a modern detail by Mies van der Rohe,” said the jury in a statement.
In addition to the stadium in Braga, some of his most famous projects in his home country include the Burgo Tower in Porto, Paula Rego Museum in Cascais, and a residence called House No. 2 in Bom Jesus. He also has works in Spain, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland.
“During the past three decades, Eduardo Souto de Moura has produced a body of work that is of our time but also carries echoes of architectural traditions,” Lord Peter Palumbo, the prize jury chairman, said in the statement. “His buildings have a unique ability to convey seemingly conflicting characteristics — power and modesty, bravado and subtlety, bold public authority and a sense of intimacy — at the same time.”
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