Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oíza



To scan the built oeuvre of Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oíza is to review the vicissitudes of Spanish architecture of the second half of the 20th century. Besides the declaration of principles underlying the Basilica of Aránzazu in Oñate, Madrid was his main stage. The modern commitment of the Fuencarral and Entrevías districts, the organic exuberance of the Torres Blancas apartments, the Miesian elegance of the Banco de Bilbao headquarters, and the postmodern divertimento of the M-30 highway resettlements show the scales tackled in a career that partook of the most heated professional debates. An inquisitive intellectual who refrained from defining a language susceptible to imitation, his personality is the most enduring memory for those who were his students at Madrid's architecture school from 1947 until he retired. Loquacious, controversial and impassioned, he claimed in a recent interview to have erred in everything. Before the cancer could consume him, his talent was recognized with the gold medal of Spanish architecture in 1989 and the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts in 1993.

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