Yesterday, the Pritzker Prize jury officially announced this year's Laureate, Portugese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura. Although little known in the United States (he has no built projects here), he's of interest to Apartment Therapy readers for his residential work. "A twenty story office tower is an unusual project for me," he said. "I began my career building single family houses."
As a young architect, he trained with Alvaro Siza, 1992 Pritzker Laureate and the only other Portugese architect to be awarded the prize. Souto de Moura started his own firm in 1980, and his body of work consists of houses throughout Europe.
Projects singled out by the jury included the multi-terraced House Number Two in Bom Jesus, Portual, which exhibits the exacting attention to detail that's earned him a reputation as a neo-Miesian. In response to the comparison, he quotes Italian critic Francesco Dal Co: "it's better not to be original, but good, rather than wanting to be very original and bad."
Souto de Moura embraces both modern ancient materials, such as 1,000-year-old stone or marble. "I avoid using endangered or protected species," he says. "I think we should use wood in moderation and replant our forests as we use the wood. We have to use wood because it is one of the finest materials available." He resists the label of 'green architect,' however, saying, "There is no ecological architecture, no intelligent architecture, no sustainable architecture — there is only good architecture."
This year's Laureate was selected by a jury composed of Chairman Lord Peter Palumbo, architect Alejandro Aravena, professor Carlos Jimenez, architect Glenn Murcutt (2002 Pritzker Laureate), architect and autor Juhani Pallasmaa, architect Renzo Piano (1998 Pritzker Laureate), writer/editor Karen Stein, and Martha Thorne, Dean of Madrid's IE School of Architecture.
Jury Chairman Lord Palumbo alluded to the emotional resonance of the architect's work, saying, "His buildings have a unique ability to convey seemingly conflicting characteristics — power and modesty, bravado and subtlety, bold public authority and a sense of intimacy — at the same time." Souto de Moura will be awarded the prize in Washington, DC at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium on June 2.
MORE INFORMATION & PREVIOUS WINNERS
• The Pritzker Architecture Prize
• Pritzker Prize Winners 2010: Sanaa Architecture
• 2009 Pritzker Prize Laureate: Peter Zumthor
• 2008 Pritzker Prize Winner Announced: Jean Nouvel
Photos: Luis Ferreira Alves courtsey of Pritzker Prize 2011 Media Kit