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Alvar Aalto and Álvaro Siza: The Link between Architecture and Nature in the Construction of Place

Journal: Athens Journal of Architecture (Vol.1, No. 3)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 207-220

Keywords : Alvar Aalto; Álvaro Siza; theory; methodology; place; nature; alterity; complementarity; analogy.;

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The link between architecture and nature, from the standpoint of the relation of architecture with its place and, in a broader sense, with the landscape it integrates, is one of the main concerns explicit in Alvar Aalto’s and Álvaro Siza’s design processes, works and writings. We propose to explore it as an existing parallelism between both architects’ practices and as a problem whose understanding has a constancy in each one’s career related both to their methodological approach and to their continuous postponement of the theoretical systematization of their convictions. Aalto and Siza seek a cohesive balance between man’s interventions and pre-existing nature. For both, architecture is something that contrasts with nature by alterity, but that also adapts and complements it. The relation with place and landscape has a propellant role in their design processes, enhanced by their distrust of an a priori theory. Their projects are born from the place they simultaneously define by a pondered search, developed case by case, for naturalness, for the same sense of evidence, proportion and simplicity they find in nature. Therefore, we explore the use they make of conceptual analogies with nature's formative processes, and even of formal analogies with the surrounding nature, which Bruno Zevi considered the naturalist misconception of organic architecture. To better understand and relate Aalto’s and Siza’s approaches to the problems outlined, a comparison was made with other architects whenever relevant, like Le Corbusier and Aldo Rossi, whose practices and positions towards project theory are thought to be distinctive.

Last modified: 2015-08-16 14:07:06