What is architecture for Alejandro de la Sota

“I always liked to talk about architecture as fun, if it is not done happily it is not architecture, this joy is precisely the architecture, the satisfaction that you feel, the emotion of architecture makes you smile, it makes you laugh, life is not.”

Alejandro de la Sota (Pontevedra, 1913; Madrid, 1996) is one of the masters of twentieth-century Spanish architecture. Professor at the School of Architecture of Madrid (ETSAM), his stela has served as a reference to several generations of Spanish architects. In the 1930s he moved from his native Pontevedra to Madrid to begin his studies at the Faculty of Mathematics, necessary condition to enter the School of Architecture.

After obtaining the title of architect in 1941, he devoted the first years of his professional life to work for the National Institute of Colonization, a stage that culminated in the construction of the town of Esquivel (Seville, 1952-1963) and the house Arvesú (Madrid) , 1953-1955, demolished). From then on he participated in a series of contests that marked the line that precedes the Civil Government of Tarragona (1957-1964), considered by many his first masterpiece. During this prolific period, he carried out several modern industrial architecture projects, such as the Clesa dairy plant (Madrid, 1958-1961) and the CENIM warehouses in the Ciudad Universitaria (Madrid, 1963-1965) and built his most recognized and unanimously admired work, the Maravillas school gymnasium (Madrid, 1960-1962), which the British critic William Curtis considers the most significant work of contemporary Spanish architecture.

In 1960 he obtained an official post at the Post Office, and throughout that decade he explored the possibilities offered by the new materials and developed a series of projects with a constructive approach based on the use of prefabricated concrete panels for walls and forged, which takes place in the Varela house in Villalba (Madrid, 1964-1968).

In 1971 he left teaching and in 1972 he returned to his post as an official of the General Post Office. During these years he built the César Carlos Residence Hall in the University City (Madrid, 1968-1971), the building for classrooms and seminars at the University of Seville (1972-1973) and the Guzmán house in the Santo Domingo urbanization (Madrid, 1972). -1974), where he would rehearse questions that will be addressed later in Dominguez’s house in A Caeira (Pontevedra, 1973-1978). To the stage as Correos official belongs the Calculation Center for the Caja Postal in La Vaguada (Madrid, 1972-1977) and, years later, the Post and Telecommunications building in León (1981-1984), a stage in the I was completely immersed in light prefabrication techniques.

Since his lecture at the School of Architecture of the Technishe Universität in Munich in 1978, his work has been internationally recognized. He gave numerous lectures in Spain and abroad and his work has been the subject of individual exhibitions at universities such as Harvard University, the Architectural Association in London, the ETH Zurich, Karlsruhe, Aachen and Milan, as well as in many schools of architecture in Spain .

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