A sprayer wrote "Bonjour Tristesse" on Álvaro Siza's residential building, which he built as part of the IBA 1984 in Berlin-Kreuzberg.

Family portrait

The exhibition of the work of Álvaro Siza at the Tchoban Foundation in Berlin is far more than just a retrospective.

The Tchoban Foundation in Berlin is currently showcasing the drawings of one of the great architects of Modernism. In collaboration with next door’s Aedes Architecture Forum the Museum is presenting a broad survey of the drawings of Álvaro Siza, the Pritzker prizewinner of 1992.

Siza’s architecture was never dogmatic, never took an unconditional stance on functionalism. Instead, he always acknowledged the discipline’s local points of reference – and its approach to interior design. Practically no other modern architect has been so successful when it comes to creating interiors and exteriors that are as captivating as his, exuding a sense of homeliness and conveying a sense of security.

Siza always considered himself committed to Modernism as a social project. A number of his most famous buildings were designed for low income families – the famous terraced housing complex Bouça in Porto (1973-7), for example, which provides courtyard-like spaces between the individual buildings. Or his Schilderswijk-West (1983-93) residential project in The Hague, for which he looked closely at the housing tradition in the Netherlands. And we should not forget his curved residential building in Kreuzberg opposite the Oberbaumbrücke which he designed as part of the 1984 IBA and which references the buildings of Poelzig and Mendelsohn.

Siza is one of those architects who always draw sketches for their designs by hand. Which is why the exhibition in the Tchoban Foundation, which has been allowed to rely on the contents of the archive belonging to the architect and his family, represents a very intimate insight into the genesis of the master’s work. At the same time, the exhibition is personal for another reason. After all it shows Siza’s freehand sketches, along with drawings by his wife Maria Antónia, who died young, his son and his grandson.

Siza – Ungesehenes & Unbekanntes
Tchoban Foundation. Museum für Architekturzeichnung
Christinenstraße 18a
10119 Berlin
February 20 through May 26, 2019

Opening hours:
Monday through Friday: 2 p.m. through 7 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 1 p.m. through 5 p.m.