Alvaro Siza – Boa Nova Tea House

Boa Nova Tea House

The Boa Nova Tea House was designed following a competition held in 1956 by the city council and won by Portuguese architect Fernando Tavora. After choosing a site on the cliffs of the Matosinhos seashore, Tavora turned the project over to his collaborator, Alvaro Siza. One of Siza’s first built projects, it is significant that the restaurant is not far from the town of Matosinhos where the architect grew up, and set in a landscape that he was intimately familiar with. It was still possible in Portugal of the 1960s to make architecture by working in close contact with the site, and this work ┬áis about ‘building the landscape’ of this marginal zone on the Atlantic – through a careful analysis of the weather and tides, existing plant life and rock formations, and the relationship to the avenue and city behind. Removed from the main road by some 300 meters, the building is accessed from a nearby parking lot through a system of platforms and stairs, eventually leading to an entry sheltered by a very low roof and massive boulders characteristic to the site. This architectural promenade, a sinuous path clad in white stone and lined by painted concrete walls, presents several dramatic perspectives of the landscape as it alternatively hides and reveals the sea and the horizon line. The building has a scenic view of the beach and water down below. Siza is considered one of the best architects to ever come out of Portugal, and this is one of his most famous buildings.

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