I decided to introduce you to my selection of the works famous arquitect Álvaro Siza Vieira in Porto, instead of making an exhaustive list of buildings.Along the way, you’ll also step on two leading names of Portuguese poetry: António Nobre and Eugénio de Andrade, rightly honoured by Álvaro Siza. Indeed, visiting and photographing Siza Vieira’s monuments is one of the best things to do in Porto.
1958 – 1963: Tea House at Boa Nova
Avenida da Liberdade, 1681 | Tue – Sat 12:30pm – 3pm & 7:30pm – 11pm
Perhaps the most famous work of Siza Vieira in Northern Portugal, the Tea House of Boa Nova in Leça da Palmeira, has the uniqueness of being built on the rocks of the Atlantic Ocean, in constant challenge to the maritime elements. Currently, it houses a luxury restaurant by Chef Rui Paula that has been awarded with two Michelin stars.
1961 – 1966: Piscina das Marés
Avenida da Liberdade – Leça da Palmeira | Summer 9am – 7pm
Nearby the Tea House, these pools are perfectly blended in its maritime habitat, offering a salty dip protected from the whims of the Atlantic ocean. They were built during the 60s and they are currently being rehabilitated – the swimming pool is expected to reopen during Autumn 2020. I don’t think it is worth to visit it before then, because with all the construction work going on you can barely see the swimming pool from the outside.
1970: Supermarket Unicoope Domus
Rua de Pedro Escobar – Porto
Hidden from curious eyes, this former grocery store (one of the first to ever open in Porto!), was recently renovated (for which future use?), is the living proof that masters are both celebrated and forgot everywhere.
1980: Monument honouring the poet António Nobre
Jardim de João Chagas – Cordoaria
A simple monument honouring the great poet António Nobre, where you can read: “Fed up with the pain by which they were killing him / he went traveling the world”. It is, due to its simplicity, one of the most ignored works of Siza Vieira in Porto.
It is practically in front of Casa de Chá da Boa Nova – just cross the street, very carefully.
1986: Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto
Via Panorâmica Edgar Cardoso, 215
I include the Faculty of Architecture of Porto on this list because it seems to me worthy of praise the contribution of a citizen, on the right measure of his capabilities, to the city where he was born and where he grew both as a human being and as an architect.
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1991 – 1999: Serralves Contemporary Art Museum
Rua Dom João de Castro, 210 | Mon – Fri 10h – 18h Sat, Sun & Holidays 10am – 7pm
I especially like Serralves Contemporary Art Museum because of its space, its silence and the multiple possibilities of living Art, offered by the architectural mastery of Siza Vieira.
(Psst! If you’re thinking about visiting the museum, you should definitely buy the skip-the-line online ticket to Serralves. You’re welcome. 😉
1996: São Bento subway station
Praça Almeida Garrett – Baixa do Porto
São Bento subway station (not to be confused with São Bento TRAIN station!) seduces me because of Siza Vieira’s drawings on the wall – there is one, on the right side of those who descends the second escalators towards the subway line, which enchants me particularly, as it represents, in two or three lines, a beautiful bridge over Porto.
2006: Home and Atelier of Armanda Passos
Foz do Porto
A couple of readers already got in contact with me asking me how to visit this particular work of Siza Vieira in Porto but as far I as know it is not open to visitors and they do not reply to emails or phone calls. A pity, truly!
2005: Tombstone of the poet Eugénio de Andrade
Cemitério Prado do Repouso – Porto
Eugénio de Andrade makes me company in so many occasions. A poet so great and yet humble could only rest in a snowy grave, absent of religious symbols or others but innocent and secret words. In Prado do Repouso’s cemetery, between silent breezes, you can read:“Earth: if one day you touch the sleeping body, puts green leaves where you put silence, be light on whom was for you.”