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Alvaro Siza’s Design Strategy: An Insight into Critical Regionalism

Authors: Rahmatollah Amirjani


By the emergence of the debate over the failure of Regionalism in the late 1970s, Critical Regional­ism was introduced as a different way to respond to the state of architecture in the post-war era. Critical Regionalism is most often understood as a discourse that not only mediates the language of modern architecture with the local cultures but also revives the relation between architecture and spectator as indexed by capitalism. Since the inception of Critical Regionalism, a large number of architectural practices have emerged around the globe; however, the work of the well-known Portuguese architect, Álvaro Siza, is considered as a unique case amongst works associated with the discourse of Critical Regionalism. This paper intends to respond to a number of questions, including; what are the origins of Critical Regionalism? How does Siza’s design strategy correspond to the thematic of Critical Regionalism? How does Siza recover the relation between object and subject in most of his projects? Using Siza’s housing project for the Malagueira district in Évora, Portugal, this article will attempt to answer these questions, and highlight Alvaro Siza’s design procedure which goes beyond the existing discourse of Critical Regionalism and contributes to our understanding of this practice.

Keywords: Alvaro Siza, critical regionalism, Malagueira Housing, placelessness.

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