architects

   Spain is one of the few countries where architects are found in the higher reaches of political life. This is particularly the case in Catalonia, but since this region is one of major socio-economic importance, the effect is felt throughout the whole country. Indeed Puig i Cadafalch, one of the best architects of Modernism and of Noucentisme, was President of the Mancomunitat (the autonomous government of Catalonia) between 1917 and 1924. After the death of Franco the most vigorous supporter of the socialist-controlled city council was Bohigas, author of Barcelona's new planning philosophy. In the opposite political camp was Bofill, internationally recognized for his contributions to monumental architecture. This shows the major role which architecture could play in this city, and also the extent to which architects could capture the attention of the wider public.
   In the Catalonia of Modernism there were already two radically different attitudes towards political life: on the one hand Domènech i Montaner and Puig i Cadafalch represent the public-spirited architect, who has a real impact on community policy (following the example of the Viennese architect Otto Wagner), while on the other Gaudí and Jujol exemplify the architect as artist, working largely in isolation from society. It is the former type who are particularly responsible for the good reputation enjoyed by architects in Spain.
   The activity of most distinguished Spanish architects of this century is associated with the development of the main centres of Barcelona, Madrid and San Sebastián. Another important locus is Andalusia where architecture has developed in a more random fashion, especially at Seville, Cordoba and Granada. To a lesser degree Valencia acts as a magnet for talented architects.
   In Catalonia, the early years of the twentieth century were a time of great architectural ferment. The leading exponents of Modernism, together with their pupils and imitators, formed an impressive group of distinguished figures, who fuelled passionate debate on architectural matters. Luis Domènech i Montaner, Antoni Gaudí, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, Josep Maria Jujol, Eric Sagnier, Jeroni Granell and Bonaventura Bassegoda are only a few of those active in Barcelona at this time. In the following generation, which marked the transition to Noucentisme but also to certain forms of rationalism, we find César Martinell, Rafael Masó, Josep Pericas, Francesc Folguera, Adolf Florensa, Nicolau Rubió i Tuduri, Joaquin Guardia i Vial, Francesc Nebot, Eusebi Bona and Raimon Durán i Reynals. In the early 1930s Barcelona was the scene of some of the most important activities of GATEPAC, redolent in some respects of the Esprit Nouveau which inspired Le Corbusier in Paris. The Catalan architects of this group were Sert, Yllescas, Subirana and Jose Torres Clavé. It was here that after the Civil War Coderch, and some years later, Correa and Milá, Moragas and Sostres began their activities. The desire for modernization and openness to new ideas favoured the birth of the Grupo R in the 1950s, an intellectual discussion group on architectural issues, which included among its members the young Bohigas, Coderch, Moragas and Sostres. In the 1970s, there is a notable diversification of architectural production, seen in the emergence of the Studio PER, with Tusquets, Clotet, Bonet and Cirici, and also the Taller de Arquitectura around Bofill. In the 1980s, new names, often of partnerships, come to the fore: Bach and Mora, Pinon and Viaplana, Garcès and Soria, Bonell and Rius, Miralles and Pinos, Torres and Martínez Lapeña, Freixes and Miranda, Arribas, Morte, Ferrater, Mateo. The majority of these continue to consolidate their reputation in the 1990s, and new names start becoming known, such as Sunyer, González, Bou or Tarrasso. While few cities match Barcelona for architectural ferment, important activity is going on elsewhere. In Madrid, turn-of-the-century architecture was represented by works in the eclectic tradition, very much influenced by French architecture of the nineteenth century. With the advent of the modern movement, GATEPAC found a staunch ally in García Mercadal, the driving force behind a group of enthusiastic architects. After the Civil War it is difficult to find a great name in Madrid architecture until the 1960s when Sáenz de Oiza came on the scene, followed a few years later by one of the greatest contemporary architects, Rafael Moneo. In the 1980s Navarro Baldeweg began to make his mark in Madrid.
   The Basque region and Navarre have their own distinctive architectural traditions: the eclectic approach of the late ninteenth century was interpreted there in a very characteristic way. The architect Victor Eusa is a good example of this distinctive vision, as can be seen from his very original projects in Pamplona in the 1930s. The influence of this tradition can still be observed in the 1970s and 1980s with partnerships such as that of Iñíguez and Ustarroz (Pamplona and San Sebastián) and Linazasoro and Garay (San Sebastián), which are trying to revive certain features of traditional construction. Andalusia, with its rich architectural heritage, offers fewer examples of this individualistic talent, but it was, after all, in Seville that Aníbal González worked, that great defender of regionalism and the driving force behind the Ibero-American Exhibition of 1929. At Granada three other architects remarkable for their originality are Giménez Lacal, Cendoya and Anasagasti, the creators of the Carmen de Rodríguez-Acosta. Contemporary architecture in Andalusia is fostered by architects such as Antonio Cruz, Antonio Ortiz and Vásquez Consuegra. From the 1980s onward, Valencia is very well represented by Santiago Calatrava, an architectengineer of international renown.
   Further reading
   - El Croquis (1985–95), Madrid.
   - Loyer, F. (1991) L'art nouveau en Catalogne, Paris: Biblio. Arts, Le Septième Fou.
   - Moldoveanu, M. (1996) Barcelona: Architectures of Exuberance, Barcelona: Lunwerg (an overview of different periods and styles, richly illustrated with photographs by the author).
   - Progressive Architecture (1993) New York, July 1993.
   - Rubió i Tuduri, N. (1927) Diàlegs sobre l'arquitectura, Barcelona: Cuadernos.
   - Zabalbeascoa, A. (1992) The New Spanish Architecture, New York: Rizzoli.
   MIHAIL MOLDOVEANU

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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