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Arb - U.K.

OARS - Portugal

Zélia Alves - Principal and Creative Director


Postgraduation in Building Conservation and Rehabilitation

ISEL - Instituto Superior Engenharia de Lisboa, Portugal

Master in Theory and History of Architecture 

Universitá Politecnica Catalunya - Etsab Barcelona, Spain

Metropolis - Master Program in Architecture and Urban Culture 

Universitá Politecnica Catalunya  + Centre Cultura Contemporanea Barcelona, Spain

Licence in Architecure

Universidade Lusíada de Lisboa, Portugal

Zélia Alves (Lisbon 1979) founded ZA-Studio at the beginning of 2022 after almost 20 years of experience working for different award-winning practices in places such as the U.K., Spain and New Zealand.

After finishing her studies in Architecture (2005, Universidade Lusíada de Lisboa), she left her hometown to discover different cultures, ways of living and thinking. It was always her belief that by experiencing different social and cultural contexts alongside the way societies understand and live cities and their associated environments; she will then be able to achieve better skills and tools to respond with sensibility and a responsible approach to both clients and architecture, an important field in the world well-being development.

Through a conscious decision, she decided to be part of different teams, working on various project typologies. In this way, she created a better understanding of a variety of solutions in construction, programs and solving problems needed in every single project.

Learning to ask the right questions enables a solid foundation for future challenges with resilient and effective responses to different contexts and clients’ necessities.

In the middle of 2018, she turned back to Portugal and started several work collaborations mainly related to local architecture and construction systems, spending the last four years doing management and coordination of construction sites and dealing with different projects and clients.


Independent Architect



Saraiva + Associados, Lisbon, Portugal

Sénior Partner

04.2019 - 08.2019                                           


Sudio Pacific Architecture, New Zealand


06.2015 - 05.2018                               

Foster and Partners, London, U.K.


03.2014 - 02.2015                               


b720 arquitectos, Barcelona, Spain

Project Architect

12.2013- 02.2014  


Luis Vidal + Arquitectos, Madrid, Spain


01.2011 - 12.2012                               


b720 arquitectos, Barcelona, Spain


03.2007 - 12.2010                               


EMBA - Massip-Bosh Arquitectes, Barcelona, Spain

Junior Architect

01.2007 - 03.2007                               


Domitianus Arquitectos, Lisboa, Portugal

Trainee Architect

10.2005- 12.2006                                



School of Architecture Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Visiting panel

2015 - 2018                                                    

SANNZ - The Student Architecture Network of New Zealand 24H Design Competition

Jury Member


​CIEE Architecture and Design Studio Program in Barcelona, Spain

Visiting panel  

2009 - 2013                                                   


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