Architectural poetics in Alvaro Siza's Parochial Centre of Marco de Canaveses

Stara, Alexandra (2010) Architectural poetics in Alvaro Siza's Parochial Centre of Marco de Canaveses. In: The Cultural Role of Architecture; 23 - 25 Jun 2010, Lincoln, U.K.. (Unpublished)


Poetry discloses truth in a perpetually open, dialectic way. It remakes the world through an imaginative, metaphoric engagement with the world. This deep reciprocity and communicative movement inherent in poetry is also a fundamental dimension of architecture. A building is no more an object than a poem is – their mode of engagement being participatory and inescapably temporal. Poetry and architecture privilege metaphor as a communicative mode. The movement inherent in metaphor goes beyond mere signification, to become a continuation of the creative act through participation. The communal character and open-endedness of this process enables the transcendence of the programmatic dimension of architecture, to achieve its potential of a cultural relevance beyond function and narrowly conceived symbolism. This paper discusses a project by Alvaro Siza, the Catholic church of Santa Maria in the parochial complex of Marco de Canaveses, in northern Portugal. Siza’s design for the whole complex and church in particular is a testament to the poetic dimension of architecture and its ability to structure communicative space for meaningful engagement with the full spectrum of culture, encompassing juxtaposed and even conflicting ideas and experiences in a situated and conciliatory way.

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