Stefano Saviotti

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Vasco Vieira

Architect and CEO of Arqui+

He was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he gained a degree in architecture from the University of the Witwatersrand. In 1994, Vasco Vieira moved to Portugal, where he stared working in Vale do Lobo, in the Algarve. After being made chief architect and director of construction of the prestigious resort, Vasco decided to open his own studio, Arqui +. The year was 2003. The quality of his projects, both private and public, has been oft awarded, as, in 2004, when he was considered one of the ten best architects in the world by Homes Overseas magazine.
Vasco Vieira
How did your taste for architecture come about?
Art was always present in our house, through my parents’ influence. They both painted. I always liked to draw, and when I was about 11, we moved house. My parents decided to fit the house to the needs of our family and this way I found myself involved in an exciting process that even went so far as to alter the floor plan. This moment proved decisive in arousing my interest in architecture.

You created the practice Arqui + in 2003. What difficulties did you encounter in the market at the time? Have they been overcome?
They have been overcome. It was at the beginning of the ‘boom’ of German investment in the Algarve, which boosted the quality of our construction. This investment captured the attention of other Europeans, who also invested in Quinta do Lago, Vale do Lobo and Vilamoura. After 15 years, there is good land management, limiting architectural intervention, protecting nature and the common interest and raising the quality of life in this area, which fortunately serves as an example for other areas of the Algarve.
«Our new practice combines architecture and the arts: we are going to promote contemporary works by young Portuguese artists in the art gallery »
What inspires you and motivates you to keep on creating?
Always doing a unique project with unique characteristics that match a particular client. The client has his own way of living, which is reflected in the architecture. When it comes to home living, although there are common and universal points, there are also many peculiarities that change according to each client. These are precisely the elements I enjoy exploring in architecture.

Is there any hallmark to the works you create?
When designing a project, hallmarks are not my concern, rather the developer’s. In my designing process, I ascertain if everything is working well in the design. My preoccupations are elsewhere; I consider how volumes interact, harmony, proportion, light, scale, etc. The quest for and the attainment of the balance between beauty and function is achieved through how spaces are interconnected and distributed and how their proportions meet with the client’s expectations. Architecture has to be beautiful, but also functional. And my projects contain this balance between beauty and function.

What would be your dream project?
We are already creating one of my dream projects: our new practice in the Algarve. It is a project that combines architecture and the arts: we are going to promote contemporary works by young Portuguese artists in the art gallery. Beyond this, my clients’ dreams bring me the exhilaration experienced when making their dreams come true.

T. Maria Amélia Pires
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