goto Appendx main menu Alvaro Siza : Robert Levit
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32. Escola Superior de Educacao em Setubal (site plan)
33. Escola Superior de Educacao em Setubal (plans)
34. Escola Superior de Educacao em Setubal (view)
35. Escola Superior de Educacao em Setubal (view)
It is possible to trace these themes through many projects. In the Escola Superior de Educacao in Setubal (figures 32-35), the three-sided courtyard opens to an undulating landscape that rolls into its arms. Distinct from the University of Virginia example that ought to come to mind, the project does not so much classically frame a landscape beyond its orderly tranquility as much as prompt this very landscape to wash right into its midst. The sequence from the parking lot or from the road running along the building's opposite flank leads to one of the legs of this project's open courtyard Appendx 3 page break 95 | 96 that is longer than the other. To signal its peculiar role within the typological context, as the initiation of an entry sequence along this leg back to the building's principal vestibule on center at the base of the courtyard, the columns kneel—that is, incline—and the roof drops down as if in the gesture of a canopy. Ramps link the various elevations of ground brought together at this surprising moment. Within, a pattern of circulation that hints at the latent symmetry of the project unfolds as a series of unique events out of kilter with the "proper" order of the plan, as if to highlight the contrast between promenade and purported order. 

The oddity of the paths to the building, traversing along the rolling grassy landscape from one side, or through an apparently casual closed patio placed at an angle to the long leg of the building, make this building seem to lay unexpectedly upon the ground. Paths unrelated to the logic of the building bring us to the "wrong" part of the building to initiate our entry into it. And the internal pattern of circulation carries on to similar effect. We wander the building as vagabonds about the ruins of Rome. 
 
 

36. Faculdade de Arquitectura (site plan)
37.  Faculdade de Arquitectura (plan)
38.  Faculdade de Arquitectura (perspective)
 
39.  Faculdade de Arquitectura (view from other side of river)
Our trace and mark appear upon the body of Siza's buildings in other ways. Physiognomic figures in facade patterns lend a strangely human aspect of gesture to the body of many of Siza's buildings. In the totemic boxes of the Faculty of Architecture studio buildings (1986�1993; figures 36�39), different "characters" are detectable, one with close-set eyes, one glancing west, and one, a Cyclops, looking ahead. The skylights of the eastern-most studio seem like a creature from John Hejduk's architectural bestiary. Yet all these gestures are not so surprising; they, like the optical cut in the Carlos Siza house, inscribe within the body of the architecture the roving subject's perceptual experiences. These windows through which we see represent that act of seeing in a rhetorical gesture. Behind, a ramp rises along the face Appendx 3 page break 96 | 97 of the classroom and lecture hall building, and the gliding glance that peers out during the ramp's ascent is cut from the building's face�the slope of the roof suggests the ramp inside but is steeper, making the cut of the ribbon window, which follows the angle of the ramp, more palpable as a gash in the facade�that is, the cut is not "explained" in relation to the building's sloped profile. 

It bears noting that the gateway pairing at the west-end entrance to the Faculty's campus is contradicted by the change in section that runs along the axis that they establish. Entrance is made through a flared vestibule stuck into the face of this sectional change, or up a flight of crossing stairs and into the bottom of the ramp's figure. The markings of path about the building and the anthropomorphisms play similar roles, leaving a trail of marks on the building, suggesting an order of movement and perception overlaid onto the more stable order of forms. The project is set on a steeply inclined bank of the Douro River; the split in section is in fact related to a mosaiclike pattern of platforms into which the embankment is cut. Thus its disruptive role is, again, the superposition of the nonconforming patterns of site and architectural configuration.next page

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