December 2005, Vol. 7 No. 2
Appointment of Dr. Ghassan Hamadeh
Prominent Arab-American Rights Activist Lectures on Islamophobia
Appointment of Dr. Thurayya Arayssi
Business School Lecture on Corporate Governance
Women’s League Meeting
Professor Samir Makdisi to Serve Again on Global Network Board
Human Resources Developments
University Senate Meeting of June 22
September Senate Notes
New Mission Statement
Dean Daghir Steps Down from Deanship
Recently Published: Comparing Media from Around the World
John Rhoder Leaves AUB
Prominent Saudi Businessman Receives AUB Distinguished Alumnus Award
Fading Poetry of Old Lebanese Houses: Art Project by Joe Saleh
Tips for Saving the Planet
Art Club Celebrates Art Day
Jafet Library Displays the Earliest Photographs of AUB Campus
Eduardo Souto de Moura, the well-known contemporary European architect, was invited by AUB’s Department of Architecture and Design to lecture at Issam Fares Hall on October 24. Having developed his career during a period of political and topographical change in Portugal, he is noted worldwide for the architectural landmarks he left across the nation, such as a metro line and the Braga Municipal Football Stadium.
De Moura’s fame attracted a large audience at the lecture—all the seats in the hall were filled, and not finding a place to sit, a considerable number of people sat on the staircase, eager to see and listen to de Moura, the man behind the designs that have fascinated architects.
In his welcoming remarks, Professor George Arbid of the Department of Architecture likened architecture to a universal language, as manifested by de Moura, by saying, “Eduardo is a Portuguese architect, giving a lecture in French, in an Arab country at the American University of Beirut…! He told me before the lecture that de Moura means the Moorish, so we might be cousins after all!”
During his talk, de Moura supplemented the verbal description of his work with a photo and design presentation. He first explained that many factors during the early days of his career confined the implementation of his architectural designs, and hence led to changes in the designs themselves: “Those conditions were low technology, the topography, traditions of building houses with stones and cement…. The change in the style of design in Portugal was not sudden; it took a long time to take place…. After the rule of the fascism in the country came communist rule; and during both eras, architects were not free in their designs. As for my generation, it was influenced a great deal by modern movements.”
De Moura outlined the evolution of his designs in the post-modern period, starting in the 1980s, by showing examples of houses and compounds he designed. He pointed out that most of his work was either in harmony with the topography of the land or in complete contrast to it. Some of the houses he designed were based on contradictions of old rocks and modern architecture and featured the “black and white effect” of a white exterior and darker shades for doors.In the last section of his presentation, de Moura described two of his chef d’oeuvres in Portugal, a metro line and the Braga Municipal Football Stadium. The latter, situated in a narrow valley in between two hills, required cutting the hills to fit the stadium. De Moura made sure the stadium was visually coherent with the landscape surrounding it, not only in shape but also in colors and lighting.