Little known Portuguese architect wins field's highest honor

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The Independent Online

Eduardo Souto de Moura has unexpectedly won the Pritzker Prize.

He is only the second person of Portuguese nationality to win architecture's "Nobel prize," following 1992's recognition of Alvaro Siza, for whom he worked as a student for five years.

Souto de Moura's work spans more than 60 projects in Europe including single family homes, shopping centers, hotels, museums, schools and sports facilities. His best-known creations are the cone-shaped, red museum in Cascais and a football stadium in Braga, both located in Portugal, but he has flown under the radar of mainstream architecture to date.

Some feel that a bigger figure in architecture should have been honored - Shigeru Ban and Steven Holl have yet to win the accolade, for instance. The jury's statement explains: "During the past three decades, Eduardo Souto de Moura has produced a body of work that is of our time but also carries echoes of architectural traditions.

"His buildings have a unique ability to convey seemingly conflicting characteristics - power and modesty, bravado and subtlety, bold public authority and a sense of intimacy - at the same time."

The winner was scheduled to be revealed on April 11, but the US-based organizers reacted with an official announcement March 28 when a Spanish news outlet broke the embargo. Souto de Moura will receive a $100,000 grant and a bronze medallion at the ceremony in Washington DC.