General information

Informação geral


Malagueira (1977-2005) is a large neighbourhood with 27 hectares located at Évora designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira to address national housing shortness, due to the migration from rural to urban communities and those returning from the crumbling Portuguese empire, after the Carnation Revolution of 25th April 1974.

The site, once a rural farm, is located on the outskirts of the historic city centre of Évora, and constitutes a typical sprawling suburb with 1200 dwellings designed for evolutive cooperative housing, in an explicit political way, similar to the Siedlungen of Berlin and Frankfurt in the 1920s (Woodman 2015). Grids of small terraced housed were lined on the site, in narrow streets, taking into consideration its topography, incorporating some historic pre-existing fragments. A technical conduit was designed as an urban aqueduct that relates to the old sixteenth-century aqueduct that runs through Évora and is integrated in the urban morphology of the Historic city [1]. Housing is reminiscent to other modernist models such as Adolf Loos and J.J.P Oud but rooted in the ancient vernacular references of the Alentejo region.

Siza’s plan is sensitive to a sense of continuity from the old historic city, with subtle interpretations, but distinctively modern. He lists a series of items – “a water line, a cork tree, a water tank at a high point … an orange grove.” (Siza, 1998:113) – that illustrate pre-existing surviving testimonies of what happened in the past that could anchor the future.

At Évora, on the open slope, a vast dialogue has been created with the interior of the walled city, with the silent presence of the abandoned mills, the outer walls of the farms, the old aqueduct that comes right into de city. But in this case it is the design that fuses metaphorically resonant elements – the conduits, the covered square, the buildings “for difficult sites” – capable of seizing on survivals moving towards extinction and involving them in the nascent state of the neighbourhood. Thus, Malagueira quarter strikes us as a city being founded and yet at the same time one that has just been unearthed.” (COLLOVÀ, 1983:80)

Álvaro Siza (b. 1933) is described by Roberto Collovà in 1978 as ”one of the dozen or so architects around forty years of age [in 1977] capable of making authentic statements in their architecture” (Collovà, 1983:75). His drawings[2] are instrumental to his research in architecture (Guilherme 2016a, 2016b, Guilherme & Salema 2017), to learn and communicate, and to transform (Siza 1979,1998), “measuring off the whole and its detail with big paces or the span of his hand” (Collovà, 1983:75).

[1] Classified in 1986 as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.[2] All original drawings, notebooks, rigorous drawings, models, and photographs presented in this paper were made by Álvaro Siza Vieira, who retains its authorship, and are archived at Drawing Matter ( They have been shared to our research project - MALAGUEIRA - PATRIMÓNIO DE TODOS, Ref.ª PTDC 2017 – PTDC/ART-DAQ/32111/2017 [CHAIA/UÉ – Ref.ª (UI&D 112) / FCT].


Universidade de Évora, Colégio dos Leões, Escola de Artes, Rua Dr. Emídio Guerreiro n.35, 7000 Évora, Portugal