Mário Martins was born in Lagos, Algarve – Portugal in 1964, and graduated in 1988 from the Architecture Faculty of Lisbon Technical University. He worked for about one year in the architectural practice of Manuel Graça Dias and Egas José Vieira, and occasionally with the architect João Luís Carrilho da Graça. At the end of 1988 he decided to return to Lagos, setting up Oblíqua Arquitectos with the architect Vítor Lourenço, with whom he developed many projects before the partnership ended in 2000.
Since then, through the company Mário Martins Atelier with Maria José Rio (his business partner and wife), he has continued to focus exclusively on architecture, assisted by his enormously dedicated and hard-working team.
With a contemporary style influenced by the place in which he mainly works – Algarve – his projects have undergone a natural process of evolving and maturing.
His work involves many types of projects, such as public facilities and private developments, new buildings or requalification: family homes, collective housing, tourist developments, restaurants, public facilities (sports, social, educational, recreational, etc), urban regeneration and urban planning (plans, studies and development).
At the same time he has been involved in various research projects, especially the “Colour in Lagos Architecture” project in the 1990s. Following comprehensive surveys carried out with the photographer João Mariano, he worked with the architect Vitor Lourenço on the renovation of facades in the historical centre of Lagos.
His work over the years has featured in national and international publications, at conferences and in audiovisual media (television and online).
To be noted among the books published are "Houses Mário Martins" (2011), "Mario Martins 1 + 1" (2012) which has a selection of houses designed by the practice and the biography "Mario Martins – Projects” (2015, Archinews).
EXCERPTS FROM SEVERAL INTERVIEWS GIVEN BY MÁRIO MARTINS
Architecture should encompass, apart from creativity, a capacity for interpretation and respect for the society, culture and environment of each region.
- Architecture comes from ideas. Drawing is an architect’s writing, and it also stimulates the imagination...
I read for pleasure, to learn more and to think better, but I still prefer drawing as a means of expression, of ideas, emotions, as a sign of creative freedom ... But, increasingly, a strong technical component is crucial to the realisation and quality of a project...
- A project involves a large and diverse technical team, although the client has a key role in the final quality of a project. Because of this, we try to have the client actively involved in the process.
We ensure we always have a close working relationship with our clients.
Good projects are usually associated with good clients.
- I always have doubts and dissatisfactions, which lead me to pose questions and to seek new and better solutions. This becomes an incessant process of synthesis and improvement. It is the quest for a certain absolute purity I know is unattainable, but still cannot stop searching for.
Paradoxically, it is this illusion that fascinates me: looking for something I know I'll never find. However, this search leads to a design that is corrected and improved with humility and willingness, qualities essential to anyone who wishes to learn.
- The ability to synthesise is critical. I believe the maturity of an architect is close to that of a growing refinement in forms and processes ... I increasingly avoid mere formal design and look for experiences and sensations. From these come forms...
- I have no firm beliefs or prejudices. I have no preference for any stereotypes or architectural styles ... I like architecture.
- We mainly work in a region with restrictions, but with clients from different backgrounds and cultures. With a contemporary approach, my intention is to transport the character and values of a region to the different tastes and lifestyles of each client, in a modern context.
I think architects have the duty to preserve culture and tradition, but also to improve our cultural space.
- I aim to create better homes and to make people happier ... If I can do this, even if not all the time, being an architect is worthwhile.
- I work with enormous dedication and pleasure. This is not something that was imposed on me. It came naturally. And from architecture; I have everything to receive and learn.