A Cheat Sheet to the 2011 Pritzker Prize Winner

Who is Eduardo Souto de Moura?
The 58-year-old Portuguese architect was a student of Alvaro Siza for five years before opening his eponymous practice in 1980. Since then, he has completed more than 60 projects, the vast majority of which are in his home country and the rest spread throughout Europe. Often described as a neo-Miesian, Souto de Moura frankly admits that the work of Mies van der Rohe is a constant inspiration. He has achieved much praise for his exquisite use of materials -- granite, wood, marble, brick, steel, concrete -- as well as his unexpected use of color. Souto de Moura is clear on his view of the use of materials, saying, “I avoid using endangered orprotected species. 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.”

Why was Eduardo Souto de Moura chosen as the Pritzker Prize 2011 winner?
“During the past three decades, Eduardo Souto de Moura has produced a body of work that is of our time but also carries echoes of architectural traditions. 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.”
- The Lord Palumbo, Chairman of the Pritzker Prize jury

What are Eduardo Souto de Moura’s most important projects?
His football stadium in Braga, Portgual, which he completed in 2004, was constructed entirely from specially sourced granite that was crushed into concrete (“It was a drama to break down the mountain and make concrete from the stone,” he comments). At a 12th-century convent and monastery near Amares, Portugal, Souta de Moura sensitively masterminded its conversion into a state inn. The most photographed of his projects is arguably the cone-shaped, red museum in Cascais. His numerous private residences, often constructed from concrete with large glass walls, are particularly acclaimed.

What does the prize mean to Souto de Moura?
“When I received the phone call telling me I was to be the Pritzker Laureate, I could hardly believe it. Then I received confirmation that it was actually true, and I came to realize what a great honor this is. The fact that this is the second time a Portuguese architect has been chosen makes it even more important.”