Mar 20, 2009

Álvaro Siza - Casa de Chá da Boa Nova (1958-63)


Of all the projects by Álvaro Siza that I had the chance to photograph, the Boa Nova Tea House quickly gained a special corner deep inside my emotions.

Maybe it is it's rather small scale, maybe it is the nearness to the light house and the ever presence of the ocean, maybe it is this constant interplay between the rocks and the horizon, I don't exactly know, but the whole site possesses something kind of magical to me.

When approaching the Tea Room, you never see it or understand it totally, the architectonic volumes and shapes melt with the rocks and the blue color of water and sky, forming a kind of sculpture.

You are tempted to forget that you are walking towards a space that was built for a very clear purpose: to be a tea house and restaurant.

I remember beeing a small kid and spending holidays every now and then with my grandparents in Porto.

On occasion, if she was feeling courageous, my grandmother would sit at the steering wheel of "Boguinhas" (their Fiat 600), and would drive us to the beach in Matosinhos or Leça da Palmeira. Really not very often, as she was a terrible driver...

Some other days, my grandfather would take me on his Vespa and we could go for a ride along the coast, maybe stopping in Leixões looking at the harbor cranes loading cargo on the ships.

You may well understand that this whole region evokes some grateful memories for me, relics of a long-gone era...

I ask myself if in a couple of years I can recognize the place...

The first photograph on this post, was shot in 13x18 (5x7 inches) with my Gandolfi Precision 8x10, using a reducing back. I am not sure about the lens I used, but I think that it must have been the Apo-Sironar W f/5.6 210mm, from Rodenstock.

All other photographs were done with a Horseman SW612 Pro, also with Rodenstock lenses.
Obviously, I used a 6x12 roll film back on these ones...



  1. I spent lucky moments in this "casa de chà", with my parents, with friends and with my nephew. I hope to come back again; it's an amazing place.

  2. Your photos are fantastic. They speak of you craft and your skill with a camera. ebb