Alejandro de la Sota, 1913-1996

Poetics of Lightness

Carmen Martínez Arroyo  Rodrigo Pemjean 

In our library, two books stand out for their degree of wear and tear: a Le Corbusier paperback and an Alejandro de la Sota monograph. They are our most read books. Our teachers talked a lot about Le Corbusier, but little about Sota. Hence the feeling that an exceptional body of architecture was ignored by a majority then looking in the direction of postmodernism.

Alejandro de la Sota was born in 1913 in Pontevedra and took up architecture in Madrid. With the Spanish Civil War interrupting his studies, he graduated in 1941 and settled in Madrid for good. The postwar was a poor period in ideas as well, and Sota adopted the materials he knew best: stone of his native Galicia and limestone of vernacular architecture. Against the official architecture born out of Beaux-Arts or Escorial Style, Sota opted for the sobriety of popular architecture. From this time date Esquivel (1955), Fuencarral B (1955), the residence on Dr. Arce (1955) and the renovation of his house in Madrid (1952), which speaks of austerity in living, sculptural use of materials and high aesthetic sensitivity...

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