Alvaro Siza, Miranda Santos House, Matosinhos, Porto, Portugal, 1962
Alvaro Siza, Miranda Santos House, Matosinhos, Porto (Portugal), 1962
The writer Luisa Ferreira da Costa commissioned the young Álvaro Siza in 1962 to design a house in a dense neighborhood of small plots. Costa asked for privacy and seclusion, and requested low, indirect light suitable for her writing. Siza responded by providing a two-storey house with skylights to create diffuse overhead light and small windows in the elevations to simply provide views of orientation and reference. He made use of the architectural vernacular, using mono pitched tiled roofs and plastered structural granite walls. This produced simplicity of volumes, a quality of composition reinforced by meticulous constructional details with openings framed in thick timbers, untreated to retain their natural colour.
The house changed ownership in 1987. Its new proprietor, Miranda Dos Santos, commissioned Siza to make alterations which consisted of enlarging existing windows and making new ones as a reaction against the new owner’s perception of the dim light of the skylights. These new openings were detailed differently from the original construction. It was as if Siza was marking his own evolution by adding new materials: the new window openings were framed with white painted wood in white marble cases.
During this long history of change of proprietors, Siza’s had been acquiring an international acclaim with a long list of celebrated works, he had lectured at numerous universities, exhibited his work almost all over the world, and received the most prestigious awards and prizes.
Reviewed March 2017 by: