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2011 Pritzker Laureate Eduardo Souto De Moura Facing Unemployment?

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By Karissa Rosenfield
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Eduardo Souto de Moura, 2011 Pritzker laureate, in front of the Casa das Histórias Paula Rego. Photo by Francisco Nogueira

Despite being awarded the 2011 Pritzker Prize, Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura has admitted difficulty in finding work. In a recent interview with El Mundo, the 59 year-old, Porto-based architect stated that he would prefer to work in his homeland, or even nearby in Spain, but the current economic crisis has him extending his search to other parts of Europe, mainly Italy and France.

Currently immersed in the worst crisis in recent history, Portugal became the third country within the 17-country eurozone in need of financial rescue to avoid bankruptcy, following Greece and Ireland. In February, the country’s unemployment rate reached new heights at 15 percent. Meanwhile, as Souto de Moura pointed out, Spain seems to be struggling even more with the possibility of becoming the fourth member of the eurozone in need of a bailout. Spain’s astonishing 23.6 percent unemployment rate has Bloomberg Businessweek referring to it as the greatest European country in danger. Continue reading for more.

Since opening his own practice in 1980, Souto de Moura has completed over sixty buildings, mostly in Portugal, and others scattered throughout Spain, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and Switzerland. He was honored with the 2011 Pritzker Prize for his iconic works, such as the Braga Stadium (2004) and Casa das Histórias Paula Rego (2011).

This prestigious honor would have many assuming that Souto de Moura would experience a surge in commissions. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Do not be mistaken, the award has caused a sizable increase to the number of invitations to competitions abroad; however, he describes that he must still compete with “another 400 or 600 architects.” Throughout Souto de Moura’s career, he has won approximately one out of every eight contests with only one in every four of those where actually realized.

As reported by El Mundo, Souto de Moura stated, “Portuguese architecture became a fashionable profession before the crisis, with more than twenty schools training more than 2,000 architects each year. After the boom, now many are going to Venezuela, USA, Canada, France and Switzerland.” Remember our recent report concerning the possible closure of the prestigious Faculty of Architecture at theTechnical University of Lisbon (UTL)?

As the worlds economies are shifting, everyone is watching for the new emerging powers. According to the recent 2012 Wealth Report by Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank, the top ten largest GDPs predicted by 2050 will be India, China, the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Nigeria, Russia, Mexico, Egypt and Japan. The survey was published as India hosted the BRICS summit of emerging economies, which included some of the world’s fastest-growing economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

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Reference: EL MUNDO.es, Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Times, BBC News, Knight Frank, CNN, The Atlantic

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