Portugal’s 58-year-old Eduardo Souto de Moura is the 2011 Pritzker Prize laureate. He is Portugal’s second Pritzker laureate, joining 1992 winner Alvaro Siza. Souta de Moura worked with Siza for five years early in his career.
The jury considered a series of his projects from the past three decades in making their decision. Much of his work, produced since opening his Porto-based office in 1980, is in his native country.
In a project completed in 1997, he converted the Santa Maria do Bouro Convent in Amares, Portugal, into a state-run inn that uses the heavy masonry walls of the existing building as a counterpoint to carefully circumscribed architectural insertions. Speaking generally of his work, but particularly suited to the convent’s design, the jury citation says, “He has the confidence to use stone that is a thousand years old or to take inspiration from a modern detail by Mies van der Rohe.”
Of the Braga Stadium (2000-2003) in Braga, Portugal, with its canted concrete pier structure, and carefully balanced cantilevered seating, and light roof, the jury says that it is “...muscular, monumental and very much at home within its powerful landscape.”
His Porto Metro (1997-2005) is a spare essay in minimalism for Porto's subway system. And the more recent Paula Rêgo Museum (2005-2009) in Cascais, Portugal, is arrayed as a disparate collection of boldly articulated volumes that form each gallery and programmatic element. “On the basis of the elevation of the trees, I proposed a set of volumes of varying heights,” Souto de Moura says. “Developing this play between the artificial and nature helped define the exterior color, red concrete, a color in opposition to the green forest. Two large pyramids along the entrance axis prevent the project from being a neutral sum of boxes.”
Upon hearing the news, Souta de Moura says that he "could hardly believe it. … The fact that this is the second time a Portuguese architect has been chosen makes it even more important."
The bronze medallion and $100,000 cash award will be presented to Souto de Moura at Washington, D.C.’s Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium.