In 1991, AV tried to sum up Spain’s architectural year through 24 buildings completed in the course of the corresponding twelve-month period. That issue never saw the light of day, but the idea crystallized the following year in the form of an annal that took stock of the most significant works of 1992, which we published independently of the magazine. The next year our almanac took on its definitive form, presenting the 24 best buildings of 1993 in a double issue incorporated into the AV collection, a formula we have maintained to the present. In all cases, detailed publication of the buildings has been preceded by black pages where, each with a photograph, a drawing and a telegraphic description making up a ‘project fiche’, the works are grouped in thematic chapters, in an attempt to orchestrate their inevitable diversity. The black pages of successive yearbooks are reproduced here, augmented by one for 1990, which we have constructed retrospectively, and another for 1999, which will form part of the next AV, ‘Spain 2000’. The result is a line-up of 240 works that endeavors to give a kaleidoscopic picture of the decade.
The ‘project cards’ are accompanied by a somewhat more detailed description of 30 selected buildings, prepared by Adela García-Herrera as ‘podiums’ made up selecting, with the advantage afforded by distance, each year’s three most important works. The black pages are in their turn preceded by general assessments that transcend Spanish architecture to cover relevant events in the international scene, using articles of mine that have since 1993 gone into the yearbook of El País, before being reprinted in AV’s own yearlies. In two cases, however (1993 and 1994), I have chosen to use contemporary essays, originally published in the same newspaper, that offer more detailed accounts of said years; and the compendiums for the first three (1990, 1991 and 1992), have been expressly written for this issue, again with the benefit that a greater perspective provides, but also with the loss of immediacy that comes with the passage of time.
In the way of an appendix, this recapitulation of the decade includes ten texts that try to recall some of the arguments and controversies that shook the Spanish architectural scene in the nineties. With one exception (‘Cities of 92’, published in Revista de Economía), all first appeared in El País, and are now reproduced with no other changes than the minor adjustments that layout imposes. The vigor that Spain’s architectures sported during a period of dazzle and spectacle is celebrated in four colors, but debates in black and white throw an unavoidable shadow upon this otherwise perfectly happy picture, hopefully giving it the depth of field that a mere register of events and works lacks. Finally, it might be of interest to the reader to know that this synthesis of Spanish architecture in the nineties is being complemented by an ideological and esthetic world chronicle of those years, in a simultaneous issue of Arquitectura Viva entitled ‘The Digital Decade’...[+]