José Miguel Iribas


1950 - 2015

With the death of José Miguel Iribas on 20 April, Benidorm and, in general, the Mediterranean model of intensive tourism, have lost their main champion. Born in Vergara (Guipúzcoa) in 1950, Iribas arrived at Benidorm in the early 1970s, when mass beach tourism was scorned by trendies and the upper class alike, though deep down they both detested the same: its popular character. Influenced by Henri Lefebvre, Iribas and his alter ego Mario Gaviria found Benidorm to be not a Babel of bad taste, but rather an efficient model in the use of land, energy, and water resources. Iribas synthetically expressed these ideas in an influential book, Benidorm, ciudad nueva (1977), which brought on collaborations with the administration. Afterwards, living in Valencia, he continued his career as a consultant in territorial issues and participated in numerous master plans (working with the likes of Jean Nouvel and Jaime Lerner). He continued his theoretical researches – in 2007 he published El efecto Albacete – and sparked many a controversy in incisive articles, many of them published in Arquitectura Viva, where he collaborated habitually.

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