Miguel Fisac y Alejandro de la Sota: Mirada en Paralelo.

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Miguel Fisac Serna

Miguel Fisac is the most important and internationally recognised architect amongst those who were responsible for the modernization of Spanish architecture in the second half of the 20th century. As time passes and his works are more widely known and researched, his figure has grown, because he was the most germinal and coherent architect of this period. He came from the rural surroundings of Daimiel (Ciudad Real) where he was born in 1913, no architects had previously come from his family. From a very young age he started to travel, and this gave him a wide vision of the avant-garde in Europe, Scandinavia and North America, as well as the traditions of the Far East and North Africa. This universal curiosity is reflected in his architecture without a prioris, where constructive invention is married to rationality in approach and an expressive intuition in which space dominates over form.

The works of Fisac cover all of the fields that are branches or tangents to architecture, in such a way that they include buildings as well as urban planning, furniture and ornament design, industrial design and painting. He produced most of his main works in four decades from the beginning of the nineteen forties, these are grouped into a number of fundamental stages which were connected to the most important constructive material of the time; beginning in 1942 with abstract classicism, moving on in the Fifties to organicism dominated by the presence of brick, this he almost completely abandoned to work with concrete for walls and structural elements, and finally his inventions related to prefabricated concrete skins made using flexible formwork which took him into the decade of the Eighties.

His work did not finish there, he was still doing projects and building until his death in 2006, although his work was more occasional and disperse, it included new buildings, reformations, writing, and conferences and exhibitions on his work, activities which culminated in his being awarded the 1994 Gold Medal for Architecture, and the National Architecture Award in 2003.

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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