Maria José Marques da Silva Martins was born in Porto in 1914. She was the daughter of architect José Marques da Silva. After completing the degree in Architecture at the Porto Fine Arts School, she obtained her Architecture Diploma (CODA) in 1943, making her the first woman architect at that school.
She began working at her father’s office and met David Moreira da Silva (1909-2002), architect and urban planner, whom she married in 1943 and shared an office in Porto (1941-1996). Their office produced urban plans that reflected the trends in the cities and gardens, but also the market constraints and political context: consultancy work, construction projects, equipment, mixed buildings, houses (rural and urban), furniture, follow-up and conclusion of works begun by Marques da Silva. Since the 40s, these two architects have authored many buildings, especially in Porto, for example, the head-office of Pedreiros Cooperative (1934-1939) and the belvedere-tower "Torre Miradouro" (1963-1969), in Rua da Alegria, and also the Rental Building "Trabalho e Reforma" (1949-1953), in Rua Nossa Senhora de Fátima; they also designed the Comércio Palace (1944-1946) in the block between Streets Sá da Bandeira, Fernandes Tomás, Bolhão and Firmeza; and the Nossa Senhora da Conceição churchyard and finishing works, in Praça Marquês de Pombal.
After the death of master Marques da Silva, in 1947, Maria José and her husband finished many of his projects, for example the new building for Sociedade Martins Sarmento, the municipal market, Penha Sanctuary, S. Torcato Church, in Guimarães, and the building in Rua Barjona de Freitas, in Barcelos. In the 70s and 80s, the couple abandoned urban planning and dedicated themselves to agriculture in Barcelos. However, during that period Maria José Marques da Silva continued to hold management positions in the Association of Portuguese Architects, chaired the Regional North Section of the Association of Architects and organized the 40th Congress of this organization, held at the Palácio da Bolsa, in 1986. In the last years of her life, she sought to dignify the life and work of her father, leaving in her will her legacy to the University Universidade do Porto, to set up the José Marques da Silva Institute.
Nowadays, the Architect Marques da Silva Foundation Institute is dedicated to the promotion, study and dissemination of the artistic and architectural heritage by José Marques da Silva and of the collection of Maria José Marques da Silva and David Moreira da Silva, as well as to incorporate other architecture and urban planning collections.