National Architecture Award 2005


Matilde Ucelay 

The first woman to become an architect in Spain is also the first to win as important a prize as the National Architecture Award. The excellence of her work aside, this assertion of the figure of Matilde Ucelay Maortúa applies to so many other women who went about their professional lives in adverse conditions. Born in 1912 into a liberal family, she obtained her degree in 1936. Because of her republican connections, after the Civil War a court slapped on her a large fine, excluded her from certain positions, and condemned her to five years of not being able to practice as an architect, during which her colleagues and friends Aurelio Botella and José María Arrillaga signed her works. Author of 114 projects that are rich in detail, she completed some industrial buildings and several houses including those known as Benítez and Oswald, and she designed Turner and Hispano-Argentina bookstores in Madrid. Her candidacy for the award, given in 2005 but corresponding to 2004, was presented by the director of the Fundación Residencia de Estudiantes and the association ‘La Mujer Construye,’ which had paid tribute to her in 1998.

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