The Climate of Porto: from Sun to the Douro Mists through the eyes of Siza Vieira*

Porto, a city I call home, is a living testament to the power of climate. The sun, the rain, and the ethereal mists of the Douro River infuse the city with a climatic poetry that both enriches and challenges architectural practice. This unique climate, which I have experienced and observed over the years, has not only shaped my work but also deepened my understanding of architecture as an art deeply intertwined with nature.

In the summer, Porto is flooded with vibrant light reflecting off the tiled facades, creating a stunning palette of colors. Winters bring constant rain, diffuse light, and a fog that envelops the entire city. Humidity is a continuous presence, requiring architectural solutions that protect and welcome. The Douro mist, in particular, creates a sense of mystery and introspection, challenging us to design spaces that offer comfort and refuge.

Light, a fundamental element in Porto's climate, is a constant source of inspiration for me. The interplay of light and shadow, a dance that transforms spaces throughout the day and the seasons, is a key aspect of my design philosophy. In the Serralves Museum, light is harnessed and controlled, drawing lines and shapes that beautifully complement the simplicity of the white surfaces.

The Piscina das Marés, integrated into the rocky landscape and the Atlantic Ocean, represents my vision of architecture harmoniously dialoguing with the natural environment. The materials I choose, such as stone and wood, age gracefully, creating a lasting connection between the architecture and its surroundings.

Porto's rain, a demanding aspect of its climate, has inspired the creation of sheltering architecture in my work. Pronounced eaves, covered balconies, and protected passages are recurring elements that not only provide protection but also facilitate a seamless transition between indoors and outdoors. At the School of Architecture of the University of Porto, circulation areas are designed to be used even on the rainiest days, maintaining a strong connection with the natural environment.

Every building should be a sensitive response to its environment, a celebration of the interaction between the natural and the built. I seek to capture and reflect this dynamic and constant interaction in each project, creating spaces that are both shelter and celebration of Porto's climate.


*This text, the result of collaboration between artificial intelligence and human thought, aims to capture the complexity of Porto's identity and the vision of Álvaro Siza Vieira. It reflects on the interaction between Porto's climate and architecture, diving into the nuances of the cultural and aesthetic identity that shape each street and building.