in architecture… in life.

If detail didn’t exist, we wouldn’t exist.
Is in the detail that there is the Total and the essence.
If there wasn’t for the detail, the space wouldn’t exist as well as its control or creation.
The absence of detail is the rough, the amorphous, that is now called concept.
It is nothing but an overshadow and empty idea … without the definition that detail will provide it with.
The detail is the definition of the Total and it is in direct line.
The Total changes from the intention to the execution and to possible realization.
When there is no detail, others will do it for us and the Total stops being it.
It transforms itself into something different. It stops being ours and becomes theirs. Comes back to the amorphous.
Detail is hard-working. It becomes disturbing and the reason of many disagreements.
We are also the consequence of many and different details.
Within the Total we are unique, with our own personality and, above all, the character of the concept.
The absence of detail – or its execution – is to delegate in others the conclusion of the idea, of the concept.
As if the authorship could be the property of someone else that didn’t make part of the Total.
What would become of food without the salt … a simple detail, but …
What would become of Life without Art … a simple detail, but…
God is in details … someone said. Someone else also said that Detail is not God. But it is always omnipresent.


Lisbon, June 1957.
Graduated in Architecture by the School of Fine Arts of Oporto (1976-1981).
Lived in Amsterdam, from 1981 to 1990, where he worked as an Architect and studied at the Academie Voor Bouwkunst Van Amsterdam.
In 1993 he founded the practice Carlos Castanheira & Clara Bastai, Arquitectos Lda. with the Architect Maria Clara Bastai.
Working, mainly, in the private sector, he has acted as juror on competition panels, participated in conferences, has been involved in setting up Architectural education courses and workshops, has curated and organized exhibitions, and has edited and published books and catalogues.
Since he was a student he has been collaborating with the Architect Álvaro Siza in various projects in Portugal but, mostly, abroad.



2005 – National Prize for Architecture in Timber – AIMMP with the project “Avenal House,” Ul Oliveira de Azeméis, Portugal.

2011 – National Prize for Architecture in Timber  – AFN/MA with the project “Adpropeixe House”, Terras do Bouro, Gerês, Portugal.

2011 – Honorable Mention in National Prize for Architecture in Timber – AFN/MA with the project “Casa da Torre Winery”, Vila Nova de Famalicão, Portugal.

2015 – Best Wine of Tourism – Regional winner in category of Architecture and Landscape with the project “Quinta da Faísca Winery”, Favaios, Alijó, Portugal.

2015 – Awarded by the International Platform Archdaily  in the category: “Office building of the year 2015”, with the project “Building on the Water- Shihlien Chemical”with Architect Alvaro Siza, Jiangsu, China.

2015 – Awarded with an Honorable Mention in National Prize for Architecture in Timber  – AFN/MA with the Project “Equestrian Center,” Leça da Palmeira. Portugal.

2016 – Selected for the Archmarathon Awards with Álvaro Siza, with the project “Building on the Water- Shihlien Chemical”, Jiangsu, China.

2016 – One of the seven finalists’ projects , in the Archdaily Platform Prizes, in the category of “Sport Building”,  with the project “Equestrian  Center”, Cabo do Mundo, Leça da Palmeira, Matosinhos.

2017 – Valmor Municipal Architecture Prize, from Lisbon City Council, with Architect Álvaro Siza with the project “Chiado Public Space.Carmo Connection”, Lisbon, concerning to the year of 2015, best project.

2019 – One of the eight finalists’ projects, from the National Prize for Architecture in Timber – AFN/MA with the project “FeelViana – Hotel”, Viana do Castelo, Portugal.

2020 – Real Estate Prize from Expresso and SIC-Noticias in the category of Construction and Sustainable Architecture and Honorable Mention with project Treetop Walk Serralves, Porto, Portugal.

2021 – One of the six finalists projects, from the National Prize for Architecture in Timber – AFN/MA with the project Taboadella Winery, Satão, Viseu, Portugal.

2021 – Awarded by the international platform Archdaily in the category: “Cultural Architecture Building of the year 2021”, with the project MoAE – Huamao Museum of Art Education with Architect Alvaro Siza, Ningbo, China.

2021- Awarded with Álvaro Siza with Jury Prize of the Taiwan Architecture Award, with the projects from Taifong Golf Club, Chang Hua County, Taipei, Taiwan.

2021- Award of Excellence by the YUANYE AWARDS – China, Beijing, with the project Taboadella Winery.

2021 – Distinguished by the international platform Archilovers as Best Project of 2021 with the project Saya Park, in co-authorship with Álvaro Siza.

2022 – Distinguished by the international platform Archilovers as Best Project of 2022 with the project Quinta da Faísca – Tourist Accommodation.



Clara Bastai Clara Bastai Architect
Lúcia Soares Lúcia Soares administrative assistant
Isabel Carvalho Isabel Carvalho Architect
Alexandra Gandra Alexandra Gandra assistant
Sara Cabral Sara Cabral Architect