Maria José Marques da Silva and David Moreira da Silva

David Moreira da Silva (1909-2002) and Maria José Marques da Silva (1914-1994) met in the world of city construction and architecture. Maria José was the daughter of the architect José Marques da Silva, director of the School of Fine Arts of Porto (where they both graduated), and David was the son of José Moreira da Silva, a builder and founder of Cooperativa dos Pedreiros Portuenses [Cooperative of Porto Masons] who collaborated with the Marques da Silva’s atelier. The professional biography of the couple (they married in 1943) was marked by the very strong curricular training of David Moreira da Silva in the 1930s: after obtaining the degree of Architecture at the School of Fine Arts of Porto (1929) he went to Paris, where he attended the ENSBA and the Institut d’Urbanisme. Since 1940 and after participating in the plans for Coimbra and Luanda together with Etienne de Gröer, the main work of the couple’s atelier for the following two decades would be on urban planning. With this specialization, it is understandable that David Moreira da Silva has assumed the chair of Urban Planning at the School of Fine Arts of Porto from 1946 to 1961. In the extensive work they designed and built, a unique formal and constructive rationality stands out in the panorama of modern works in the city of Porto, with emphasis on the buildings of Palácio do Comércio [Trade Palace], Cooperativa dos Pedreiros (in particular the rental apartment building “Trabalho e Reforma”, 1949] and the iconic Torre Miradouro [Viewpoint Tower] in Rua da Alegria, [1963]. A second group of significant works stems from the completion of projects initiated by José Marques da Silva (1869-1947) and still in progress, from the headquarters of Sociedade Martins Sarmento and the Monument to the Peninsular War, to commissions from the Church (Porto, Braga and Guimarães). In the 1970s and 1980s, already relatively removed from the central role they had played during the previous three decades on the debate on urban transformation of Portuguese cities, the couple devoted themselves mainly to agricultural exploitation of their properties in Barcelos, but Maria José Marques da Silva has at that time assumed leadership positions at the Association of Portuguese Architects. In the 1990s, the couple conceived and created an institution to preserve the meeting place that justified their lives. Today, the Marques da Silva Foundation, dedicated to the study and defense of architectural culture, extends the couple’s legacy in the meeting place of their lives: architecture.