SAAL S. Victor Social Housing, Porto, Portugal
Álvaro Siza

Gelatin silver print
4⅛ x 5⅞"

This housing project in Porto is one of Siza’s most politically engaged works—due to the architect’s sensitive relation to the existing urban context and the involvement of the population in the process of design. Like other large-scale residential projects at the time, the housing was designed for the Serviço de Apoio Ambulatório Local (SAAL), a government organization that addressed the lack of safe and affordable housing in Portugal after the revolution of 1974. Part of a greater planning intervention intended to renovate a densely packed neighborhood in the historical center of the city, the row of twelve houses fills the small site, adapting itself to the locale and offering an alternative for tabula rasa approaches to urban renovation. Poetically blending regional and modern references, the project demonstrates that a scarcity of resources can result in a resonant cultural and political architectural statement. —MoMA

Álvaro Siza, (born 1933, Matosinhos, Portugal), Portuguese architect and designer whose structures, ranging from swimming pools to public housing developments, were characterized by a quiet clarity of form and function, a sensitive integration into their environment, and a purposeful engagement with both cultural and architectural traditions. He was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1992. —Britannica

(Photo: MoMA)