Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira has been awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale. The announcement was made today by Biennale board director Paolo Baratta and director David Chipperfield, who noted Siza’s authority on designing with bold forms, shaping light, and creating reflective compositions. “Secured by his isolated location, he exudes worldly wisdom. Experimenting with forms of extreme geometry he manages to produce buildings of great rigor. Developing an architectural language that is uniquely his, he seems to speak to all of us. While his work exudes the security of judgment, it is clearly intensified through cautious reflection. While we are dazzled by the lightness of his buildings, we feel the seriousness of their substance,” Baratta and Chipperfield said in a statement.
“It is difficult to think of a contemporary architect who has maintained such a consistent presence within the profession as Álvaro Siza. That this presence is maintained by an architect that lives and works at the extreme Atlantic margin of Europe only serves to emphasise his authority and his status,” according to a statement.
“Since the early appreciation of the Boa Nova restaurant and the swimming pools at Leca de Palmeira and a reputation confirmed by the early houses, Siza has maintained a unique position in the architectural galaxy. This position is full of paradox. Siza has upheld a consistent production of works at the highest level, yet without the slightest hint of the overt professionalism and promotion that has become part of the contemporary architect’s machinery. Apparently running in the opposite direction to the rest of the profession he always seems to be out in front, seemingly untainted and undaunted by the practical and intellectual challenges he sets himself.”
Siza will be officially honored during a ceremony on Sugust 29, 2012.