Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura has won the Pritzker Prize, one of the world's most prestigious awards for architecture.

"Eduardo Souto de Moura's architecture is not obvious, frivolous or picturesque. It is imbued with intelligence and seriousness," the prize jurors said in their citation, issued Monday.

"His work requires an intense encounter, not a quick glance. And, like poetry, it is able to communicate emotionally to those who take the time to listen."

The 58-year-old first set up his office in Porto in 1980. He is the second Portuguese architect to win the Pritzker, after Alvaro Siza Vieira in 1992.

"When I received the phone call telling me I was to be the Pritzker laureate, I could hardly believe it," he said in a written statement on Monday.

Souto de Moura's work in his home country includes the museum in Cascais dedicated to painter Paula Rego and the football stadium in Braga. Carved into the face of the Monte Castro quarry, the stadium was home to the 2004 UEFA European Football Championship.

He has built family homes, cinemas, shopping centres and the 20-story Burgo Tower office block in Porto. Most of his work is in Portugal, though he has also created designs for other European countries.

Importance of co-existence

In his practice, Souto de Moura favours local materials and has stressed the importance of fitting into the surroundings.

He prefers to address the characteristics of each site and find a way for the natural and the manmade to co-exist.

"There are always problems we must not neglect. For example, energy, resources, costs, social aspects — one must always pay attention to all these," he said at a 2004 building forum.

The Pritzker Prize, which comes with a $100,000 US grant and a bronze medallion, has also been won by Canada's Frank Gehry, Britain's Norman Foster and Rem Koolhaas of the Netherlands.