Antonio Palacios, architect of Madrid

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Antonio Palacios starts working at a historical moment characterized by political and social instability and, especially, by the disaster of 98, after which the debate between tradition and modernity intensified. The architecture of that period would be strongly influenced by currents seeking the search for national identity, looking back as the Renaissance times symbolizing the lost splendor. No wonder, therefore, that Palacios, in line with the historicist trends driven by Viollet le Duc or Rushkin during the nineteenth century, resorting to borrowed elements of Gothic, neoplateresque or the Baroque to create monumental work whose ultimate expression reaches in buildings regionalist who built in Galicia.

But it was not alien to contemporary trends such as Modernism, whose influence is present in his interest in the ornamental, the organic and the ambition to create total works of art with the addition of decorative arts, which adds the secessionist echoes Otto Wagner, who is set in his particular evolution towards functional structures and cleaning materials. All this coupled with the use of giant orders, references to international academic classicism, American architecture and the incorporation of new materials allowed Palacios achieve an integrated balance between old architectural concepts and new construction methods to create a very personal and difficult work to classify.

The architecture of Antonio Palacios is located in a transitional stage between Modernism and the Modern Movement, so some of the followers of this current doubted not calling him a megalomaniac, monumentalista and formalistic. However, after the sculptural appearance of many of its buildings, Palacios somewhat he anticipated rationalism by emphasizing a functional distribution of space. While it is true that his works manifest a desire to transcend, we must not forget that were designed to adapt and integrate into an environment official and monumental as the Madrid of the early twentieth century character.

Nevertheless, Antonio Palacios left an extraordinary legacy consists of the most significant and monumental buildings of modern Madrid. A set of buildings that contributed to modify its urban profile and today, unrelated to any architectural movement, remain in the collective memory with the city's key landmarks such as the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor and the Basilica of San Francisco el Grande.



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