Souto de Moura wins 2011 Pritzker Prize

Mar 28, 2011
  • Article by Online Editor

Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura has been named as the recipient of the 2011 Pritzker Prize, one of international architecture’s top accolades.

Prize organizers have confirmed the details of the 2011 laureate after details were leaked ahead of the official announcement, which had been due to be made on 11 April.

Souto de Moura will be honoured with a US$100,000 grant and a bronze medallion at the official ceremony, which will take place at the Andrew W Mellon Auditorium in Washington D.C.

Jury chairman Lord Palumbo said of the jury’s choice: “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. 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.”

The 58-year-old will be the second Portuguese architect to receive the prize, following in the footsteps of Alvaro Siza, who received the honour in 1992. Souto de Moura had worked with Siza for five years before establishing his own practice in 1980.

Souto de Moura’s celebrated work in Portugal includes his stadium in Braga, completed in 2004. Granite removed from the site was crushed to make the concrete for the stadium, a project the jury called “muscular, monumental and very much at home within its powerful landscape”.

The jury commended Souto de Moura’s expressive use of natural materials, saying: “He 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.”

The jury also highlighted House Number Two in Bom Jesus near Braga, a house featuring a sequence of five terraces praised for its “uncommon richness throughout the subtle banding in the concrete of its exterior walls”.

Other notable projects by Souto de Moura include the Paula Rego Museum in Cascais, and the Burgo Tower in Porto – described by the architect as an “unusual project for me. I began my career building single family houses.”

Souto de Moura said it was a “great honour” to be selected by the jury, adding: “The fact that this is the second time a Portuguese architect has been chosen makes it even more important”.

The Pritzker Prize was first presented in 1979 to American architect Philip Johnson. Awarded annually, the prize recognises the work of a living architect whose built work has made a significant contribution to humanity and the built environment. The Prizker Prize is sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation, which is run by the Pritzker family.

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