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Álvaro Siza: Gateway to the Alhambra at the Aga Khan Museum


July 18, 2016
by Canadian Architect

Image courtesy of the Aga Khan Museum

Image courtesy of the Aga Khan Museum

The work of Álvaro Siza, one of today’s greatest living architects, will be showcased at the Aga Khan Museum in an exhibition that explores the creative process — and genius — behind one of Siza’s latest projects: the Alhambra’s new Visitor Centre in Granada, Spain, entitled “Puerta Nueva” (New Gateway).
 
Opening July 23rd, Álvaro Siza: Gateway to the Alhambra invites visitors into the extraordinary mind of this Portuguese architect and recipient of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize. Through sketches, renderings, models, videos and interviews, the exhibition explores how Siza was simultaneously inspired and challenged by the mighty Alhambra, a site which grew from a modest 9th-century fortress to a luxurious palace complex and citadel five centuries later. Today, 8,500 visitors enter this World Heritage Site each day, creating a profound need for a multi-functional place where they can access amenities, gain information and better appreciate the Alhambra’s grandeur. Siza’s sensibility to the surrounding landscape of Granada, and what he calls the “enchanting atmosphere of the Alhambra,” results in a design that services visitors’ needs while also preparing them for the sights, sounds and textures of the Alhambra itself. Exclusive to the Toronto showing of this international exhibition, a selection of artifacts from the Alhambra’s own collection will place Siza’s intervention plans into context.
 
Director and CEO of the Aga Khan Museum, Henry Kim, notes: “The Alhambra is the site of the last great Muslim civilization on the Iberian peninsula, inspiring countless artists and architects. With his vision for Puerta Nueva, Siza does the seemingly impossible: encompass the history of the Alhambra and achieve a timeless design.”
 

Álvaro Siza: Gateway to the Alhambra will be on view at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto from July 23, 2016 to January 8, 2017. For full details, please visit agakhanmuseum.org.