goto Appendx main menu Alvaro Siza : Robert Levit
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Siza uses a variety of strategies to "attack" this integrity, enabling him to persist in constructing a relationship between site and intervention (as each project should be called in his work) that binds them without naturalizing their relationship. He also deploys certain strategies that metaphorically present the alienness of the type, as an inherited formal construct, in relation to a subject that cannot see itself reflected in that inherited order of architecture. 
26. Pavilhao da Faculdade de Arquitectura (site plan)
27. Pavilhao da Faculdade de Arquitectura (plan)
28. Pavilhao da Faculdade de Arquitectura (view of stairs)
29. Pavilhao da Faculdade de Arquitectura (view of exterior)
The Pavilion for the Faculty of Architecture is a U-shaped building, a species of the three-sided courtyard (figures 26-29). It is set at one end of an enclosed garden. The garden is oblong and its entry is on one of the long sides toward the far end from Appendx 3 page break 92 | 93 the Pavilion. From that vantage point the building remains hidden by a large clump of bushes and small trees. The U-shaped form of the Pavilion also is pinched and tapers toward a large old tree that contributes to its concealment. Although the project opens up in the direction of the garden's principal axis—that is, it faces or embraces the space of the garden in the direction of the patio area of the garden entrance—the path to the building and its entry follows another order of logic. Gravel paths lead along the two edges of the rectangular green in which the Pavilion sits and onto which it opens. To enter the building, it is necessary to skirt the whole garden edge or walk along the nearer side of the green and around the side and back of the Pavilion. The entrance is a one-story box shoved into the corner of the project furthest from the garden entrance. It is a circuitous route—a surprising location for the entrance because the courtyard's configuration suggests a more formal solution to its approach and entrance. It has latent in it an axiality to which the garden is susceptible. Yet neither the approach nor the location of the entrance acknowledge such latent implications. Lest we forget that such implications exist, a small bay protrudes at the middle of the rear along this central axis—although this too, as it is deflected asymmetrically in its shape by its contact with a virtual bounding line around the building, only puts an equivocal emphasis on the axis. 

The building has no base but for a thin black line of tile set flush in the white wall, nor is the ground in any way specially prepared for the building. It is significant that the building's figure, on one side and at the back, is caught up in the geometrical organization of the ground plane, but there is no sense of accommodation at the point of contact between building and ground: at the short end of its arms and along the side of the far arm the building sets right down into grass as if it were a model or play object set down upon a living-room carpet. 

Perhaps habitual percourses around the edge of the garden drove the logic of a corner entry, now hidden and far from everything else in the garden. The inherited order of the object is treated with the kind of indifference that we might imagine in reinhabiting a ruin, or building the new city around it, as happens in Rome. New windows and doors are cut into an ancient edifice, new street patterns are laid out with no necessary regard for its original order or hierarchy or organization. It is as if the building were a piece of nature to be colonized. I exaggerate to make my point, because clearly each decision of dimension, shape, and location has been considered. But the cumulative rhetorical effect seems to suggest these purposeful contrasts and superimposed counterorders. The building is in many ways, like the pool at Leca, Appendx 3 page break 93 | 94 calibrated to its site, yet that calibration feels more like an exploration of how disparate things may be set together, existing simultaneously yet disturbing one another as little as possible. So here now is the found object of the Pavilion; the grass might as well pass right under it. A promenade wends its way around the garden, momentarily leaving hidden this built visitation to the site, and there, in the intimacy of the garden corner, we enter the building. The entry provokes a local eruption in the fabric of the building and an entirely localized figurative event occurs, as if marking the type with an event of human passage, as the stairs, ramps, or other such materials had occurred against the background of the columnar grid in Villa Stein or Villa Savoye. The type then becomes a kind of ideal background for a human promenade, as occurred in Le Corbusier's work against the background of the space idealized by the columnar order. 

30. Carlos Siza house (plan)
31. Carlos Siza house (exterior view)
In the Carlos Siza house (figures 30 and 31), the effect of this artifice of apparently aleatory relationships between different layers of order is more radically visible. This project too is a pinched U. Its central axis is marked by the living room's protruding bay window. Here too entry is made casually from the corner, although in this case one enters into a sort of ambulatory that enfolds the courtyard of the house. In this house the "indifference" of site is more radical. The house sits on a raised base. At a certain point along one edge of the site, the raised plot's perimeter wall folds sharply back into the house, passing through one leg of the U and conceptually cutting off three of the bedrooms from the rest of the house. Through the typological figure, an element connected with site passes in a formally disruptive fashion through its interior. Some rather extraordinary readings are possible as a consequence of this event. The three bedrooms seem to be simultaneously outside of the house and within the garden precinct while still legibly within the figure of the U. The courtyard, Appendx 3 page break 94 | 95 which is properly an extension of the garden space into the heart of the house, is now outside the garden beyond the cutting diagonal of the garden wall. 

A third event of an entirely different sort is superimposed upon the superimposition of site and type. An optical cone of vision is cut from the center of the dining room window, twisting the geometry of two columns; dimensioning along its trajectory the two opposite windows of the courtyard; aligning, along radials drawn from the cone's vertex, the dividing walls of three bedrooms; and popping out from the far side of the house a little bay window of sorts. Vision is inscribed as another uncoordinated order into the fabric of the building. The indifference of one order's logic to that of another suggests the independence of each. The rhetorically aleatory nature of their relationships suggests the foreignness of one to the other—that is, they constitute an archeology of architecture, represented by typological formations or as in Leca, with syntactical strategies, site, and the order of the subject. Each is intimately bound to the other, yet alien.next page 

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