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Eduardo Souto de Moura’s Windows

In 2012, Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura designed two separate, yet related, structures for the outdoor spaces of the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale. Both constructions draw relationships with the venue and with the broader context of Venice and seek to interpret the fundamental principles of architecture — therefore inquiring about the discipline’s ‘Common Ground’ which gives the title for the exhibition, which was curated by David Chipperfield.
Eduardo Souto de Moura’s installation, located at Giardino delle Vergini, in the waterfront of the Arsenale and titled Windows, «reflects about the evolving relationship between interior and exterior, the gradual opening up of options, and their dependance and influence on the architectural language» (Biennale Architettura 2012 catalogue, p. 142). Three openings reframe landscape differently, oscillating between the window, the door and the wall and providing a complete reinterpretation of the surroundings through a quick overview of the technical development of architecture: a) the medieval vertical opening, b) the horizontal window, c) the glass window-wall. Before entering the installation, the visitors were welcomed by Robert Venturi’s brief essay Windows-c.’65.
Souto de Moura summarised his intentions as follows: «Material, building systems and language, is the trilogy that has been used to explain the styles of the History of Architecture. With the Dom-Ino structure (1914) facades and openings are no longer a compromise, a dependency and become a ‘will of the author’. The landscape ceases to be a fatality, and becomes our decision of how we want to see it: vertically, horizontally, entirely, or only partially. Geography becomes how we want it to be, not as it had to be. This is the great leap of the Modern Movement, and as a result of Postmodernism.»
(free translation, courtesy Eduardo Souto de Moura)
WINDOWS
Author: Eduardo Souto de Moura
Location: Venezia, Italia
Date: 2012
Client: La Biennale di Venezia
Team: Pedro Oliveira, Diogo Guimarães
Photography: Nico Saieh