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Talk for a few hours with Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza and one will walk away with an understanding of not only his nation’s current economic and cultural malaise, but also an equally impassioned analysis of everything from Portugal’s former colonial glory and Spain’s Inquisition-era folly to the blunders of European Union investment and the wonders of the South Korean construction industry.

“I’ve never held parochial views towards architecture,” declares the 79-year-old master on a stormy August afternoon in his compound-like, 10-architect…



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