Álvaro Joaquim Melo Siza Vieira was born in Matosinhos (near Porto), in 1933.From 1949-55 he studied at the School of Architecture, University of Porto. His first built project was finished in 1954.
From 1955-58 he was collaborator of Arch. Fernando Távora. He taught at the School of Architecture (ESBAP) from 1966-69 and was appointed Professor of “Construction” in 1976. He was a Visiting Professor at the Ècole Polythéchnique of Lausanne, the University of Pennsylvania, Los Andes University of Bogotá and the Graduate School of Design of Harvard University; he taught at the School of Architecture of Porto (jubilate in 2003).
He is the author of many projects such as: the Boa Nova Tea House and Restaurant; 1200 dwellings built in Malagueira, Évora; the Superior School of Education in Setúbal, the new School of Architecture in Porto; the Library of Aveiro University; the Museum of Modern Art in Porto; the Church and Parochial Centre in Marco de Canavezes; the Pavilion of Portugal for EXPO ’98 and the Pavilion of Portugal in Hannover 2000 (with Souto de Moura); the dwelling and offices complex of “Terraços de Bragança” in Lisbon; and he has rebuilt the burnt area of Chiado in Lisbon since 1988, including the projects for some buildings like Castro e Melo, Grandella, Chiado Stores, and others.
He has been coordinated the plan of Schilderswijk’s recuperation in The Hague, Holland, since 1985, which finished in 89; in 1995 he finished the project for blocs 6-7-8 in Ceramique Terrein, Maastricht.
In Spain he has completed the projects for the Meteorological Centre of Villa Olimpica in Barcelona; the Museum of Contemporary Art of Galicia and the Faculty of Information Sciences in Santiago de Compostela; the Rectorate of the Alicante University; Zaida building – offices, commercial and dwelling complex in Granada; Sportive Complex Cornellà de L’lobregat in Barcelona.
Cultural Centre and auditorium for the Ibere Camargo Foundation in Brazil; Municipal Centre of Rosario in Argentina; lodging-house in the Plan of Recuperation and Transformation of Cidade Velha in Cap Vert; Museum of Modern Art of Naples in Italy, are to be mentioned.
His works were exhibited in:
Copenhagen (1975); Aarhus and Barcelona (1976); Biennale of Venice (1978); Milan (1979); Museum of Architecture in Helsinki and Alvar Aalto Museum in Jyvaeskyla, Finland (1982); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1982); Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and Stichting Wonen, Amsterdam (1983); Technische Hogenschool, Delft, ESBAP and Almada Negreiros Gallery, Lisbon (1984); International Building Exhibition, Berlin (1984 and 1987); Biennale of Paris and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (1985); 9H Gallery, London (1986); Columbia University, New York (1987); Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge (1988); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris and MOPU Gallery/Ministerio de Obras Publicas, Madrid (1990); RIBA, London and Colegio de Arquitectos, Sevilla (1991); deSingel Gallery, Antwerp (1992); Rui Alberto Gallery, Porto and MOPU, Madrid; GA Gallery, Tokyo; and Biennale of San Paolo, Brazil (1993); Colegio de Arquitectos, Granada and Seville, “Sala do Risco”, Lisbon (1994); Centro Galego de Arte Contemporaneo, Santiago de Compostela; Antico Convento de Santa Clara, Republic of San Marino; Società Ticinese di Belle Arti, Mendrisio/Comune di Como (1995); Gammeldok, Copenhagen, Municipality of Matosinhos, Belém Cultural Centre, Lisbon, and Colegio de Arquitectos, Tenerife (1996); Fondation pour l’Architecture, Brussels (1997); Fundación ICO (sculpture), Madrid (1998); Basilica Palladiana, Vicenza (1999); Palazzo Ducale, Venice; Safia Gallery, Barcelona (2000); Art Front Gallery, Tokyo; Caixa Geral de Depósitos Bank, Porto; Artistic and Cultural Association (1st Biennale of Silver), Lamego (2001); District Archive of Porto; Yokohama Portside Gallery, Yokohama; Art Gallery Artium, Fukuoka; Art Gallery of Bremen; School of Architecture of Saint-Étienne; Artek – Portuguese Design, Helsinki; 8th International Exhibition of Architecture, Venice (2002); Canal Foundation, Madrid; Biennale Foundation of S. Paulo, São Paulo; Belém Cultural Centre, Lisbon; Centre of Design of l’UQAM, Montreal, Canada (2004). Max Protetch Gallery, New York; Museum of Architecture, Prague; 9th International Exhibition of Architecture, Venice; Triennial of Milan (2004). Serralves Museum, Porto (2005).
Total Museum, Seoul (2006); Santa Monica Museum of Art, Califórnia (2006); Centre Meridional de L’Architecture et de la Ville, Toulouse (2006); Claustre des Miralls des Santuari de Meritxell, Andorra (2006); Anyang Pavilion, Coreia do Sul (2006). Nova Dehli (2007). Cooperativa Árvore, Porto; Ohtake Institute, São Paulo; Lecce, Italy; Belém – Pará, Brasil.
He has participated in several lectures and conferences in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Norway, Holland, Switzerland, Austria, England, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Canada, United States, Romania, Greece, South Corea and Sweden.
Having been invited to participate in international competitions, he won the first place in Schlesisches Tor, Kreuzberg, Berlin (now built), at the recuperation of Campo di Marte in Venice (1985) and at the renewal of Casino and Café Winkler, Salzburg (1986); Cultural Centre for the La Defensa, Madrid (with José Paulo Santos) (1988/89); J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, California (with Peter Testa) (1993); Pietà Rondanini Room, Sforzesco Castell, Milan (1999); Special Plan Recoletos-Prado, Madrid (with Juan Miguel Hernandez Leon e Carlos Riaño) (2002); Toledo Hospital (Sánchez-Horneros office) (2003).
He has participated in the competitions for Expo 92 in Sevilla, Spain (with Eduardo Souto de Moura and Adalberto Dias) (1986); for “Un Progetto per Siena”, Italy (with José Paulo Santos) (1988); the Cultural Centre La Defensa in Madrid, Spain (1988/89); the Bibliothèque of France in Paris (1989/90), the Helsinki Museum (with Souto de Moura) (1992-93); Flamenco City of Xerez de la Frontera, Spain (with Juan Miguel Hernandez Leon) (2003).
The Portuguese Department of the International Association of Art Critics awarded him the Prize of Architecture of 1982. He received an Award from the Portuguese Architects Association in 1987.
In 1988 he was awarded the Gold Medal of the “Colegio de Architectos”, Spain, the Gold Medal of the Alvar Aalto Foundation, the “Prince of Wales Prize” in Urban Design by Harvard University and the “European Award of Architecture” by the Economic European Comunity/Mies van der Rohe Foundation, Barcelona. In 1992 he was awarded the Pritzker Prize by the Hyatt Foundation of Chicago for his entire work. In 1993 the Portuguese Architects Association gave him the National Prize of Architecture. In 1994 he received the Dr. H.P. Berlagestichting Prize and the Gubbio Prize/Associazione Nazionale Centri Storico-Artistici. In 1995 the Nara World Architecture Exposition awarded him the Gold Medal; and the Fiera di Verona gave him the International AwardArchitetture di Pietra. In 1996 he was awarded the Secil Prize of Architecture, and in 1997 the Manuel de la Dehesa Award by the Menendez Pelayo University, in Santander. In 1998, he received the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York; the Premio IberFAD de Arquitectura by the Foment de les Arts Decoratives, Barcelona; and the Praemium Imperiale by the Japan Art Association, Tokyo, and the Gold Medal by the Circulo de Bellas Artes of Madrid. In 1999, he received the Grã-Cruz da Ordem do Infante D. Henrique given by the Presidency of the Portuguese Republic, and the Leca Prize of Construction’98. In 2000, the Fondazione Frate Sole, in Pavia, gave him the Premio Internazionale di Architettura Sacra.
In 2001, he was awarded the Wolf Prize in the Arts by The Wolf Foundation in Israel and Alexandre Herculano Architecture National Prize. In 2002, he was awarded the VI Prémio Internacional Compostela by Xunta da Galicia of Santiago de Compostela; the Arts Medal by Consejera de las Artes of Madrid; the Gold Lion of Venice by Bienal de Veneza; the best professional trajectory in Architecture by III Bienal Iberoamericana of Architecture and Civil Engineering, of Santiago do Chile; Personality of the Year by theAssociação da Imprensa Estrangeira in Portugal and the Vitruvio 2002 Prize by the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, of Buenos Aires. In 2003, he was awarded the Medal of Turistic Merit by the Gabinete do Secretário de Estado do Turismo, in Lisbon;“Palladio d’Oro” by Comune di Vicenza and Distinction Special Honour by the Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Castilla-La Mancha, in Guadalajara. In 2004, he was awarded the Latinity Prize from the Latin Union, in Lisbon; Valmor and Municipality of Architecture Prize by Lisbon City Hall. In 2005, he received the Keys of the City by Porto City Hall; reward the Principal Urbanisme 2005 by the Ministère de l’Équipement de l’Aménagement du Territoire du Tourisme et de la Mer de Paris; Architecture award by the College of Architects in Granada; Gold Medal of Merit by the Ayuntamiento of Santiago de Compostela. In 2007, he was awarded by Secil Prize of Architecture 2006; Matosinhos Town Hall homage him; Marco de Canaveses Town Hall awarded him with medal of merit Cultural and Scientific; Cultural Ministry of Brazil awarded him with the Order of Merit Cultural. In 2009, Royal Gold Medal 2009 by The Royal Institute of British Architects.
Doctor “Honoris Causa” by University of Valencia (1992), by École Polithécnique Federal de Lausanne (1993), by the Palermo University (1995), by Menendez Pelayo University, in Santander (1995), by the Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería de Lima, Peru (1995), by the University of Coimbra (1997) and by the Universidade Lusíada (1999), by Paraíba Federal University (2000), Federico II University, Naples (2004); University of Architecture and Urbanism of Bucarest “Ion Mincu”, Romenia (2005); Università degli studi di Pavia – Faculty of Engennering (2007).
He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science, “Honorary Fellow” of theRoyal Institute of British Architects, AIA/American Institute of Architects, Académie d’Architecture de France and European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts.