Born in Rio de Janeiro, Elizabeth de Portzamparc spent her youth there, following the Frank Schaeffer art workshop before coming to France to complete her studies. In France, she completed urban sociology studies (Master Degree, then DEA, with Paul-Henri Chombart de Lawe), before orientating her professional activities towards town planning (IAURIF, the Management Workshop of Town Planning, at Antony, in the Paris urban district, from 1977 to 1980). She also conducts operational research on the Paris area, including «The Neighborhoods of Antony» and «The redevelopment of suburban neighborhoods» for the Urban Plan of the city. Following her success at the ‘National list of aptitude for teaching Architecture’ examination, in 1980, established by the Ministry of Culture and Architecture, she taught at the Architecture School of Paris-La-Seine (1982-1987).
Her aptitude to create and refine volumes, to model plans and to integrate innovative material combinations into her design and architectural projects led her to create her own agency in 1987. The rigor which defines her work is found in the purity and economy of her designs’ shapes and in the lightening of masses through the use of oblique lines, shifted volumes and tight curves. Her designs always express a strong relationship with their urban surroundings. Her dual design approach, both sociological and architectural, acquired through her various experiences, combine the sociological, urbanistic and economic requirements of a project with an optimal design of its shapes. This association is illustrated in the formal rigor of her various buildings, civil engineering structures and her tram stops in Bordeaux.
Today, among other realizations, major architectural projects have been launched: the iconic railway station of Le Bourget, the Grand Documentary Equipment of Aubervilliers, the Musée de la Romanité in Nîmes, and projects for cultural facilities, building for hotels or houses in France, Brazil, Morocco, China and the United States.
Within the Grand Paris International Workshop, she is pursuing her research on the identity of places, started 30 years ago and playing a key role in the reflection and discussion on the construction of a metropolis. In the same context, she is conducting pioneering proposals for flexible, sustainable housing, for mixed use or prefabricated.