Porto, the second biggest city in Portugal, has a lot of interesting architectural sights to offer, from the prestigious concert hall Casa da Musica to the social housing complex designed by Alvaro Siza Vieira.
Forget about Lisboa; Porto, the second biggest city in Portugal, is much more charming. It has some cozy cafés, cutting edge bars, cute little streets, the Douro River and great Port wine. But aside from all that, Porto has another interesting feature: it offers really great architecture. Let me introduce you to some architectural must-sees in Porto.
Alvaro Siza Vieira’s swimming pool
Porto is home to the Porto School of Architecture, one of the most prestigious architecture schools in Europe and the world. It’s also the school where Alvaro Siza Vieira studied, a Portuguese architect who won the Pritzker Architecture Prize. One of his earliest works was a public pool he created in the 1960s in a fishing town north of Porto. The pool disappears in the sea and is incredibly beautiful. It’s just a bus ride along the coastline away from the center of Porto, so make sure to take a dive in this magnificent swimming pool.
A social housing complex
Another gem made by the hand of Alvora Siza Vieira is the Bouça housing complex in Porto. The project started in 1973 but it still looks very contemporary. It was built to create social housing for poor people, but nowadays it attracts artists, architects, and young couples to settle in. If I could, I’d move to Portugal just to be able to buy one of these super smart and beautiful houses!
Casa da Musica
Casa de Musica is a major concert hall space in Porto. The Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas designed it. The concert hall was finished in 2005 and immediately became an icon in the city. If you go there, make sure to have a guided tour; the building has so many little architectural details only a guide can show you and you’re allowed to see more rooms with a guide. The building made a big impression on me, and I’d really say it’s a must see.
Façades in Porto
You don’t have to look far to discover nice architecture in Porto: even the façades of the houses are really beautiful, so just walk around in Porto and keep your camera close!