architecture, post-Francoist

architecture, post-Francoist
   Strictly speaking, the term "post-Francoist architecture" would denote the development of architecture in Spain after the death of Franco in 1975. In reality, however, Francoist architecture is a somewhat vague concept as regards architectural style or approach, particularly from the 1960s onward (see also architecture, Francoist). The last fifteen years of Franco's dictatorship were characterized principally by the limitations imposed by censorship and selfcensorship, which delayed the arrival in Spain of some forms of architectural expression. It was precisely these restrictions, indeed, which arguably facilitated the upsurge in creativity which followed the demise of the dictatorship. The fact that this took place without violence created a favourable climate for architectural work of considerable diversity. There were no "victims": architects who had been practising in the last years of the Franco regime continued to do so, often consolidating their international reputation as the result of wider contacts, while their younger colleagues followed their own distinctive paths, willing to learn the basics from their elders, but rapidly putting them into practice in their own way. This is clearly illustrated by the fact that for the major architects of the 1960s or 1970s, such as Coderch, Milá, Correa or Sáenz de Oiza, the death of Franco made no noticeable difference to their architectural style. They received more varied commissions and enjoyed wider influence, but their creative activity as such showed no break with the period immediately before.
   Nevertheless the change of regime was important. The country experienced a period of prosperity, and architects shared in the increased influence which intellectuals in general exercised on the administration. There were numerous long-term and ambitious building projects, a spectacular surge in urban renewal, and unprecedented activity in all spheres of civic and industrial architecture. Whereas in the 1960s the relative backwardness of Spanish architecture had been a matter for regret, in the 1980s and 1990s Spain became a model for other countries to follow, not simply because of the prestige of a few high-profile figures, but because the death of Franco seemed to release a burst of creativity that affected the whole country, ranging from very modest constructions to large-scale complexes. Previously it was rare to find examples of contemporary architecture outside Madrid, Barcelona or San Sebastián, but now high-quality modern works were being produced practically everywhere in Spain.
   The established centres of twentieth-century architecture nevertheless reflected this new creativity more obviously than the newer ones. Thus Barcelona, where architecture had been a central concern of public life for over a hundred years, acquired an impressive number of new buildings, partly as a result of hosting the Olympic Games in 1992. The architect Oriol Bohigas was one of the principal instigators of urban policy in a city which was home to several teams of young architects producing work of high standard. They include Bach and Mora, Garcès and Soria, Torres and Martínez Lapeña, Tusquets and Díaz, Freixes and Miranda, Pinon and Viaplana, Ferrater, Bofill, Miralles and Arribas. Furthermore, the "giants" of the international scene were invited to build there, for instance Isozaki, Foster, Calatrava, Gregotti, Siza, Meier, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and Gehry.
   In Madrid the trend for large-scale work is well represented by architects such as Moneo and Navarro Baldeweg, and it was also in the 1980s that the most complex works of Sáenz de Oiza, a well-known architect of the 1950s and 1960s, came to fruition. Seville also has witnessed a boom as the result of the International Exhibition Expo-92, involving many world-class architects: Ando, Grimshaw, Aulenti, Calatrava, Makowets, Viguier and Jodry. The major influences on contemporary Andalusian architecture are somewhat different from those in other regions of Spain. The Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza has been a major source of inspiration for Antonio Cruz, Antonio Ortiz and Vásquez Consuegra in particular. In the Basque region and Navarre the work of Linazasoro, Garay, Iñíguez and Ustarroz displays a regionalist approach of a very high standard, and new teams are setting up in the Balearics and Galicia.
   An important factor in the flowering of the profession at local level is the network of colleges of architects. Each region has a college which enjoys a high degree of autonomy, compared with architectural organizations elsewhere in the EU. The college performs a variety of functions, acting as a professional union, bank, social security office and centre of cultural activity. In this latter role its contacts throughout the world, and the exchanges resulting from them, are impressive. All this means that the profession is better defended, better administered and better informed than ever before, and is a model of good practice.
   Further reading
   - 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).
   - Rubió i Tuduri, N. (1927), Diàlegs sobre l'arquitectura (Dialogues on Architecture), Barcelona: Cuadernos.
   - Levene, R.C., Márquez Cecilia, F. and Ruiz Barbarín, A. (1990) Arquitectura española contemporánea, 1975-90, Madrid: El Croquis Editorial.
   - Zabalbeascoa, A. (1992) The New Spanish Architecture, New York: Rizzoli

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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