Unsupported browser

For a better experience please update your browser to its latest version.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Álvaro Siza: ‘For me, making architecture means starting with what is there’

  • Comment

Álvaro Siza on his design for the Sensing Spaces exhibition

You walk along Piccadilly with all its traffic and find yourself in front of the big archway. Through it you see the courtyard, which comes as a surprise. The scale is domestic rather than monumental, but the building’s facade - with its porticos and columns, which are whiter than the rest of the stone - has a very strong presence.

My first reaction as I wondered what to do was almost panic. Then the notion of the column lying emerged and I wondered if I could make an installation that referred to the birth of the column. I have placed one column lying down with its capital beside it, another standing, and a third with the capital in place. I hope that these three elements create an entity which also relates to the courtyard as a whole.

For me, making architecture means starting with what is there. Unless you are building in a desert, there are always lots of things to consider, sometimes too many. Here I am introducing a new element inspired by the sensation I had the first time I entered the courtyard.

From the courtyard, visitors climb the stairs to the beautiful octagonal room, and beyond it they move into the gallery where they find Souto de Moura’s installation. The sequence is more intense and richer because you cannot see both his and my installation at the same time. It requires visitors to activate their memories rather than just make visual comparisons.

  • Extract from the Sensing Spaces catalogue
  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs

AJ Jobs