Miguel Fisac y Alejandro de la Sota: Mirada en Paralelo

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Miguel Fisac Serna

Miguel Fisac ​​Serna, born in 1913 in Daimiel, Ciudad Real and died in 2006 in Madrid. He was an essential figure in Spanish architecture in the second half of the twentieth century. He enrolled at the School of Architecture in Madrid, and after hectic studies interrupted by the civil war, in 1942 he graduated with the end of his career award from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando.

He was always interested in vernacular architecture. In addition, he was inspired by the Nordic organicism of Gunnar Asplund's work that together with Frank Lloyd Wright will influence his concept of architecture.

His first project was commissioned by the CSIC; He transformed the old auditorium of the "Colina de los Chopos" in Madrid in the Capilla del Espíritu Santo.

Miguel Fisac ​​in his career projected numerous religious works. Its ecclesial production stands out for the personal interpretation of religious aesthetics, the use of light and the spatial dynamism and poetics in its forms, with curved walls, converging and tensioned surfaces.
The Parroquia de Santa Ana in Madrid (1965) is considered one of the most important projects. Built in exposed concrete, it manifests an atmosphere of humble simplicity.

His architectural style evolved in relation to the new materials of the time. From abstract classicism, to brick, to the exclusive use of concrete. Fisac ​​researched a lot about this material and patented his “bone beams”. Prefabricated pieces of prestressed concrete that allowed to obtain large lights and control lighting. In 1960 they were used for the first time, in the construction of the Centro de Estudios Hidrográficos in Madrid.

Later, he experimented with various techniques to give texture to concrete, including in his work a more emotional character. His dissatisfaction with the limits of traditional wooden formwork, led him to patent, in 1973, an innovative solution for the time: the "flexible formwork" that could be implemented in the Mupag Rehabilitation Center (Madrid) and in many others later works.

His activity was not reduced only to the field of construction, but his creative ability led him to write articles, books, and design furniture. He made exhibitions, also of art presenting 60 of his paintings in Madrid.

Miguel Fisac ​​built more than 350 projects, including the emblematic "Pagoda" in Madrid, which unfortunately was demolished in 1999. On the contrary, many of his works are protected and cataloged. Some examples are the Church of Pumarejo de Tera (Zamora), the Church of the Apostolic College of the Dominican Fathers (Valladolid), and in Madrid works such as the Parish Center of Santa María Magdalena (1966) or the IBM Building (1967).

All these activities culminate with the obtaining in 1994 of the Gold Medal of Architecture, and three years after the Antonio Camuñas Prize. In 2002 he received the National Architecture Award. Since 2006, the College of Architects of Ciudad Real manages the Fisac ​​Foundation that is responsible for cataloging all documentation, as well as promoting and safeguarding the work of the Spanish architect, urban planner and painter.

Alejandro de la Sota

Alejandro de la Sota (Pontevedra, 1913; Madrid 1996) is one of the greatest masters of  the Spanish Architecture of the 20th Century. He was a professor at the School of Architecture of Madrid (ETSAM),  serving its trail as a reference for several  generations of Spanish architects.

During the thirties, he moved from his home town Pontevedra to Madrid where he started his studies in the Faculty of Mathematics, which was a necessary condition to enter in the School of Architecture. Once he got his degree in Architecture in 1941, he spent the first years of his professional life working for the National Institute of Colonization; a stage that ended up with the construction of the village of Esquivel (Sevilla, 1952-1963) and Arvesú House(Madrid, 1953-1955, demolished). Since then, he participated in different competitions, following the same idea as he did in his previous work, the Civil Government of Tarragona (1957-1964). This building has been considered by many people his first masterpiece. During this prolific period he did several projects of modern industrial architecture, such as Clesa Dairy Plant (Madrid, 1958-1961) and CENIM premises in the Campus of the University(Madrid, 1963-1965) and he also built his most recognized and admired work, the Gymnasium of Maravillas School (Madrid, 1960-1962); which is considered by the British critic William Curtis, the most significant work of Contemporary Spanish Architecture.

In 1960 he obtained a job as a Government officer at the Post Office, and throughout this decade, he researched  the possibilities that new materials provide and developed several projects based on a constructive approach consisting of the use of prefabricated concrete panels for walls and floors. This idea is shown in Varela’s House in Villalba (Madrid, 1964-1968).

In 1971 he leaves the university education as a professor, coming back to his public service position at the Post Office. During these years he built César Carlos Residence Hall in the Campus of the University (Madrid, 1968-1971), the building for class and lecture rooms of the University of Sevilla (1972-1973) and Guzmán’s House in Santo Domingo ‘s urbanization (Madrid, 1972-1974), in which he tried out issues to be applied afterwards in Domínguez’s House in A Caeira (Pontevedra, 1973-1978).  The Computer Center for the PO Box in La Vaguada (Madrid, 1972-1977) and years later, the Post and Telecommunications Building in León (1981-1984) belongs to a stage where he was completely involved  in light prefabricated techniques.

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