Álvaro’s Siza’s public housing projects, designed at great scale and complexity against the backdrop of the Portuguese Revolution, obliged him to articulate a position that was nuanced and ideologically forceful. Such projects developed over long periods, in response to shifts in policy, funding and political climate. For an architect whose work develops always through the iterative sketch, this challenging process, combined with the scale and cultural ambition of the projects themselves, produced the densest imaginable mass of drawings.
On 25 February 2018 Manuel Montenegro and Niall Hobhouse went to Porto to sit with Siza in his office as he looked through seven of his sketchbooks from 1977 to 1979: Cadernos 4, 8, 13, 34, 35, 40 and 41. This publication chronicles the conversation that unfolded over two-and-a-half hours as Siza spoke through the pages of his sketches, about SAAL Bouça Housing, Porto (1972–73; 1974–79; 2004–07); the Borges Bank, Vila do Conde (1978–86); and the Quinta da Malagueira, Évora (1977–97), among other projects. Indeed – and by Álvaro’s own account – the weekly site visits to Malagueira were what prompted his first use of the sketchbook, something that has since become integral to his social presence and his working method. Included is a foreword by Niall Hobhouse.
Edited by Tina di Carlo. Published by Drawing Matter Somerset, 2018.