PAULO DAVID. ALVAR AALTO MEDAL 2012
(4.2.2012 - 26.2.2012)



The Museum of Finnish Architecture is featuring the eleventh winner of the Alvar Aalto Medal, the Portuguese architect Paulo David (b. 1959). The award ceremony took place at the WDC Design Gala at the Sibelius Hall in Lahti on February 2nd.
 
Honouring Finland’s most famous architect, the Alvar Aalto Medal recognises creative excellence in the field of architecture. Designed by Aalto, it is conferred by its founders, the Museum of Finnish Architecture, the Architectural Society of Finland and the Finnish Architects’ Association together with the Alvar Aalto Foundation and the City of Helsinki.
 
Funchal-born Paulo David graduated as an architect in Lisbon and has worked on his home island in the Madeira archipelago since 2003. The rugged topography is mirrored in the style of his architecture, which is contemporary, yet timeless. Geographically remote from the Portuguese mainland, Madeira is a volcanic island famed for its craggy mountainous cliffs and sweeping ocean views, its coastline mercilessly exposed to the elements. David’s varied projects include private homes, residential developments, art galleries, museums and swimming pools featuring massive basalt surfaces, terraced platforms and water features that are subtly integrated with the natural scenery and architectural heritage of Madeira. His architectural vocabulary is modern yet ageless, local yet universal, vigorous yet serene.
 
“In searching for my place in this ever-globalizing world, I have been lucky to find a distinctive style with a strong sense of local identity. Building in Madeira is like making a meal out of sparse ingredients: the architect is at the mercy of nature, forced to constantly search for new alternatives and opportunities, stretching every inch and reshaping the space.”
 
“Paradoxically, Madeira’s geographical isolation has enabled me to go about my work in peace here at ‘the edge of the world’, regardless of the challenges of the location and the absence of influences from the outside world. The insular conditions and remoteness of global cultural metropolises may seem a disadvantage, but they are the very foundation of my work as an architect.” Working in isolation is also a deliberate choice for David – his office has no website and there is little information about him on the web.
 
His best-known works include the Casa das Mudas Art Centre (2004), the Do Atlântico Swimming Pools and Das Salinas Promenade (2004), the São Vicente Volcanism Pavilion (2006), Funchal 05 House (2006) and the Residence Funchal Hotel (2008).
 
The exhibition features original drawings and a video about David’s architecture.


All of this year’s events at the MFA will celebrate Helsinki’s year as WORLD DESIGN CAPITAL 2012, inspiring us to discover and invent new ways of improving our everyday life and environment.


Arts Centre - Casa das Mudas - Calheta, Madeira, Portugal
Photo: Fernando Guerra / Paolo David Arquitecto
Salinas Restaurant and Garden - Câmara de Lobos, Madeira, Portugal
Photo: Fernando Guerra / Paolo David Arquitecto
Funchal House 05 - Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
Photo: Fernando Guerra / Paolo David Arquitecto
Volcanism Pavillion - São Vicente, Madeira, Portugal
Photo: Fernando Guerra / Paolo David Arquitecto
São Vicente’s Caves Access Galleries - São Vicente, Madeira, Portugal
Photo: Fernando Guerra / Paolo David Arquitecto
Salinas Swimming Pools and Promenade - Câmara de Lobos, Madeira, Portugal
Photo: Fernando Guerra / Paolo David Arquitecto
Architect Paolo David
Photo: Alma Mollemans