To Build A House - Alvaro Siza

We keep coming back to this quote from Alvaro Siza;

To build a house has become an adventure.

It requires patience, courage and enthusiasm.

Designing a house develops in various ways. In some cases, it is immediate. At times, it is slow and painful. Everything depends upon the possibility and the capability to find stimuli – the difficult and decisive support of the architect.

Designing a house is almost the same as designing anything else: walls, windows, doors, roof. And yet it is unique. Each element transforms itself in relation with the others.

At certain points, the design takes on a life of its own. That is when it turns into a fickle animal, with restless paws and uncertain eyes.

If its metamorphoses are not understood, or if its needs are satisfied more than the essential, it becomes a monster, If everything that in it appears evident and beautiful is captured and fixed, it becomes ridiculous. If it is excessively constrained, it stops breathing and dies. The design is to the architect as a character from a novel is to the author: it constantly outdoes him or her. It is necessary to avoid losing it. The design presses. But design is a character with many authors, and it becomes intelligent only when it is understood on those terms, otherwise it becomes obsessive and impertinent. Design is the desire for intelligence. 

Alvaro Siza

Oporto, 1982