Álvaro Siza’s religious architecture and design on view in Rome

Alvaro Siza portrait

Part of Nature – a program of exhibitions dedicated to leading contemporary architects – some of the religious buildings conceived by Álvaro Siza are presented in an exhibition taking place at the MAXXI museum in Rome and designed by the Portuguese architect himself. 

Cover, Álvaro Siza, portrait; photo by N. Galeazzi

Large sloping walls, large halls which alternate with small and intimate rooms. This is how Álvaro Siza has conceived his exhibition, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva and Margherita Guccione; as a huge spatial installation into which drawings, projects, and objects reveal the relationship between him and the sacred.


MAXXI, Álvaro Siza, Sacred, installation view, photo by N. Galeazzi.

Until 26 March 2017, in the 2bis Gallery of the MAXXI, religious building designs and objects alternate with others by which the theme of the sacred is expressed more subtly.
Sacred objects designed for Pope Benedict XVI and religious vestments for Pope Francis are on view together with drawings and ten architectural designs, while architectural pictures by five international photographers – Fernando Guerra, José M. Rodrigues, Leonardo Finotti, Luís Ferreira Alves, and Mimmo Jodice – are projected on the exhibition’s walls.


Quinta de Santo Ovídio Chapel, Lousada, Portugal, 1997-2001. Photo: FG+SG Fernando Guerra.

Building designs on view include the Santa Maria Church in Marco de Canavezes and the Quinta de Santo Ovídio Chapel in Portugal; the unbuilt Chiesa del Rosario in Rome; the Church of Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande in Rennes, France; the Mother Church in Salemi, Sicily; the projects for the Tidal Pools of Leça da Palmeira, the Portuguese National Pavilion at EXPO98 in Lisbon, the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto, all in Portugal; and the Iberê Camargo Museum in Porto Alegre, Brazil.


Tidal Pools of Leça da Palmeira, Portugal, 1961-1966 Photo: FG+SG Fernando Guerra


Portuguese National Pavilion, EXPO98, Lisbon, Portugal, 1995-1998. Photo: FG+SG Fernando Guerra 

Through a model, drawings, and photographs, the exhibition reserves a special focus for the project for the Municipio Metro Station in Naples, as an expression of the sacred side of underground architecture, of archaeological remains, and the layering of historical epochs right into the heart of a city which, for Siza, represent religious icons which deserve to be celebrated.

9 November 2016 – 26 March 2017
MAXXI, via Guido Reni 4, Rome

All images courtesy of MAXXI

sponsored links

More about Alvaro Siza Vieira

Alvaro Siza Vieira

Alvaro Siza Vieira

copyright Inexhibit 2021 - ISSN: 2283-5474