01 Feb Álavaro Siza Vieira: A Pool in the Sea
In conversation with Kenneth Frampton. Photographs by Vincent Mentzel.
At first glance the small volume A Pool in the Sea comes along rather unpretentious and modest. But there is something about it, some kind of roughness as you touch the surface or even the dark and moody cover of the sea which draws you in. Well, what you see is what you get. This beautiful arranged sequence offers an intimate glimpse of the early work of Portugal’s renowned architect Álvaro Siza Vieira. At the age of only 26 Álvaro started his first solo project: the Leça Swimming Pool, built from 1961 to 1966. The complex which runs along the rocky coast of Portugals seaside, Matosinhos, is famously known for Álvaro’s virtuous play with its elements, the sublime synthesis of organic stones contrasted with the sharp geometry of his architecture. He is confronting and confronted by nature and his architectural work interferes and modifies the savagery of natural conditions. The interviews between the leaned back architect and Kenneth Frampton are touching upon his method, his passion and what makes it so compelling for him to work with nature’s given resources. Accompanied with Vincent Mentzel’s photographs you get immediately a sense of what Álvaro considers to be the essence of being and working as an architect: “Architects don’t invent anything, they change reality.“