Book Launch with Mark Lee and Sharon Johnston - "POROSIS / The Architecture of Nuno Brandão Costa"



"POROSIS / The Architecture of Nuno Brandão Costa"

Book Launch and talk with Mark Lee, Sharon Johnston and Nuno Brandão Costa
Chicago Architecture Biennial

Mark Lee — I remember someone saying, sometime ago, that Brazilian architecture couldn’t happen until after Niemeyer died. I actually heard from Jacques Herzog who said that Portuguese architecture would have a new life when they kill Siza. [laughs] Obviously, it's a joke but it has to do with some Edipo complex. I’m curious to hear Nuno, and well as his generation, on how they see the masters before them. Do they see a certain continuity or, otherwise, some differences. As an insider perspective what is your felling?

Nuno Brandão Costa — I think that to be contemporary of Álvaro Siza is, first of all, a privilege because he his such an amazing architect. Maybe he his one of this last classical masters and we have the privilege to be with him, to talk to him, and he his such a nice person. But I think that copying him is a mistake. It's simply not possible. There are of course some mannerisms but, well, it’s not the most interesting way... At the same time, I don’t see as a problem to look at Siza and learn a lot from him. For instance, one of the most important things that I have learned with Siza is the question of the scale. You had already visited buildings from Siza... That is something that we should copy! [laughs] Well, at least I try to... It has to do with dimensions, but scale is something much more: it has to do with proportions, the way that geometry goes on to the ground, into the landscape. It has to do with the sun and the light towards your body. That’s why it’s so important to go there and visit his work. This is something that you can also see here in Chicago, with Mies Van der Rohe, or in the work of Le Corbusier. This is a very important matter, although it’s very hard for me to describe it.