Alvaro Siza Vieira speaks out at award ceremony

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Alvaro Siza Vieira spoke out at his award ceremony last week
against the lack of maintenance for buildings.

The architect was awarded an honorary Doctorate (“honoris
causa”) from the University of Aveiro on Thursday 15th December,
accepting the degree while acknowledging that poorly maintained buildings are “a
problem nationwide”.

Trio of architects honoured

Portuguese developers choosing cheap and fast construction
options are also an obstacle, Siza Vieira added. Talking to reporters at the university, he admitted
that
the current economic climate was “very difficult” for architects.

The honorary degree was given to Alvaro Siza Vieira and two
other architects: Eduardo Souto de Moura and Alcino Soutinho. The trio received
the degrees from the institution, celebrating its 38th anniversary, which recognised the men as important figures in the industry, particularly in transforming the university campus into “an icon of
national architecture” – for example, Alvaro Siza Vieira, Asbeira.pt
reports, designed the university
library.

Prime Minister prioritises reform

The event was attended by Portugal’s Prime Minister, Pedro
Passos Coelho, who addressed the audience of students and staff. Speaking
before the ceremony, he highlighted the importance of structural reforms in the
development of Portugal’s economy and housing industry.

“We must reject all the fears and remember that the
problems arise from the difficulty of the tasks and not our weaknesses,” Passos
Coelho said
. He concluded: “People are ends and means of economic activity,”
adding: “The country has a huge way to go.”

A cause for celebration?

For now, the housing industry can take some comfort from the popularity
of buy-to-let properties in the Algarve regions, and other popular tourist
destinations. Recent reports have found that interest from overseas investors
is still strong in Portuguese property, despite the economic crisis, as buyers
look to profit from low house prices and high rental yields.

With demand at some of the country’s agents surprisingly
strong and Vieira Siza’s honorary degree awarded at Aveiro, industry experts will hope that the
celebrations continue in 2012. For many, it may not be very likely.

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